On the rocks

So China just launched their first domestically-produced icebreaker, joining a c.1994 Russian-built unit, the 21,000-ton Xue Long (Snow Dragon) previously purchased to double the size of their fleet operating on their new “Polar Silk Road.”

Xue Long II

Named Xue Long 2 (way to branch out) the new 14,000-ton ship is larger than our only true polar icebreaker, USCGC Polar Star, not to mention being about 50-years newer.

Meanwhile, Canada last month picked up a trio of new (to them) medium icebreakers from commercial trade for a song from a company in Sweden. Commissioned into the Canadian Coast Guard, they will revitalize that force until new purpose-built ships can be made.

The new-ish Canadian breakers, soon to be painted red and white

Good thing the USCG isn’t having a problem getting new, modern breakers through Congress.

Oh, wait.

Bonus: Why icebreaking matters, from Matt Hein, a Surface Warfare Officer currently studying for his Masters in Security Studies at Georgetown University.

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