Coast Guard reactivates Seattle-based icebreaker

Seattle - August 2, 2012, Crewmember of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB 10), work to refurbish the cutter as it prepares for re-commission. Polar Star is a heavy icebreaker first commissioned in 1976. U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class LaNola Stone.

Seattle – August 2, 2012, Crewmember of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB 10), work to refurbish the cutter as it prepares for re-commission. Polar Star is a heavy icebreaker first commissioned in 1976. U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class LaNola Stone.

The U.S. Coast Guard has reactivated the icebreaker Polar Star after a four-year $57 million overhaul.

The Seattle Times reports that the 34-year-old ship, one of the nation’s two heavy-duty icebreakers, will undergo tests next year before again plying the frozen Arctic regions.

The Polar Star was overhauled at Vigor Industrial shipyard in Seattle. A ceremony was held Friday for the renovated icebreaker.

The Polar Star can bust through a two-story wall of ice by backing up and ramming, but the ship is past its original life span.

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell and others have argued for beefing up the nation’s ice-breaking capabilities as climate change opens up more previously frozen regions to scientific and commercial exploration.