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Coast Guard could triple base size on Seattle waterfront as U.S. ramps up Arctic presence

daftandbarmy

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This looks like big expansion ....



The U.S. Coast Guard is proposing a renovation and expansion of its Seattle waterfront base that during the next decade will be home to three new icebreakers, and probably other vessels.

The Coast Guard’s aging Seattle operations hub supports Pacific Northwest and polar missions. It will have a higher profile role in the coming years as the U.S. ramps up its presence in an Arctic region rapidly changing as the climate warms.

One option for the base’s makeover would result in more than tripling the Coast Guard’s acreage along the waterfront, according to a document published last week in the Federal Register. One of three under consideration, it involves the “acquisition” of up to 54.1 acres, mainly at Terminal 46, which is adjacent to the Coast Guard’s current waterfront base.

Port officials say they want to support the Coast Guard efforts to improve and grow the Seattle base, but are wary that a federal takeover of most of Terminal 46 would end an ongoing effort to expand bulk cargo operations there.

“I want to know if we can provide this national service without impacting to an unreasonable degree our well-established uses of the waterfront,” said Fred Felleman, a Port of Seattle commissioner.

Lt. Russ Tippets, a Coast Guard spokesperson, said that “we understand the concerns associated with such a major endeavor. We are committed to working with stakeholders, and the public through the environmental planning process to hear and address those concerns.”

He said that the Coast Guard is looking for the most cost-effective options for accommodating a modernized icebreaker fleet, and have not made any decisions on whether that would be a purchase of port land, or some sort of long-term lease.

The planning process for the base improvements kicked off last week with a notice in the Federal Register, starting a 45-day public comment period on what issues should be considered in development of an environmental-impact statement. By fall of next year, that statement is expected to be completed.

Three alternatives proposed​

The Coast Guard has been operating out of Seattle since the late 19th century, and for much of the 20th century had cutter berths scattered about the waterfront. In 1966, the Coast Guard acquired what was then Pier 36, and consolidated operations at this 23-acre site. Currently, this Seattle base has some 900 people assigned to units there and berths three vessels: the Polar Star heavy icebreaker, the Healy medium icebreaker and a cutter.

Coast Guard could triple base size on Seattle waterfront as U.S. ramps up Arctic presence – The Seattle Times
 

YZT580

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Why would they expand their Seattle base for ships that will spend most of their time off the coast of Alaska? For an organization that professes to want to be green, they are going about it the wrong way. That is a lot of fuel and time being spent in transit.
 

MarkOttawa

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Why would they expand their Seattle base for ships that will spend most of their time off the coast of Alaska? For an organization that professes to want to be green, they are going about it the wrong way. That is a lot of fuel and time being spent in transit.
In fact most of the work of USCG icebreakers has been in Antactic.

Mark
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dimsum

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Why would they expand their Seattle base for ships that will spend most of their time off the coast of Alaska? For an organization that professes to want to be green, they are going about it the wrong way. That is a lot of fuel and time being spent in transit.
My guess is a lack of infrastructure (both for ships and for pers/families) in the USCG bases in AK?
 

Kirkhill

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Seattle is the hub for all marine activities in Alaska. The cargo fleets and the fishing fleets operate out of there and the shipyards are all there for maintenance, repairs and upgrades.

Alaska is a big place with a population less than New Brunswick.

And all the marine distillates used in Alaska are shipped out of Seattle and other lower 48 ports. Locally purchased fuel prices always reflect the cost of sailing north and deadheading south.
 

daftandbarmy

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My guess is a lack of infrastructure (both for ships and for pers/families) in the USCG bases in AK?

Like air, port and train infrastructure. It only takes between 2-4 days to steam up there IIRC.

Alaska has been served directly from Seattle for many decades, like during the Gold Rush, of course

 
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