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Project Title:

Polar Icebreaker Cost Assessment
PIN: TRB-SASP-16-03        

Major Unit:

Division on Earth and Life Studies
Transportation Research Board

Sub Unit: Board on Atmospheric Sciences & Climate
Ocean Studies Board

RSO: Hutchins, Mark

Subject/Focus Area: Transportation and Infrastructure

Project Scope
An ad hoc committee
 “(a) shall:
(1) describe current and emerging requirements for the Coast Guard's polar icebreaking capabilities, taking into account the rapidly changing ice cover in the Arctic environment, national security considerations, and expanding commercial activities in the Arctic and Antarctic, including marine transportation, energy development, fishing, and tourism;
(2) identify potential design, procurement, leasing, service contracts, crewing, and technology options that could minimize life-cycle costs and optimize efficiency and reliability of Coast Guard polar icebreaker operations in the Arctic and Antarctic; and
(3) examine:
    (A) Coast Guard estimates of the procurement and operating costs of a Polar icebreaker capable of carrying out Coast Guard maritime safety, national security, and stewardship responsibilities including:
        (i) economies of scale that might be achieved for construction of multiple vessels; and
        (ii) costs of renovating existing polar class icebreakers to operate for a period of no less than 10 years.
    (B) the incremental cost to augment the design of such an icebreaker for multiuse capabilities for scientific missions;
    (C) the potential to offset such incremental cost through cost-sharing agreements with other Federal departments and agencies; and
    (D) United States polar icebreaking capability in comparison with that of other Arctic nations, and with nations that conduct research and other activities in the Arctic. 

(b) Included Costs:  For purposes of subsection (a), the assessment shall include costs incurred by the Federal Government for:
(1) the lease or operation and maintenance of the vessel or vessels concerned;
(2) disposal of such vessels at the end of the useful life of the vessels;
(3) retirement and other benefits for Federal employees who operate such vessels; and
(4) interest payments assumed to be incurred for Federal capital expenditures.

(c) Assumptions:  For purposes of comparing the costs of such alternatives, the Academy shall assume that:
(1) each vessel under consideration is
    (A) capable of breaking out McMurdo Station and conducting Coast Guard missions in the Antarctic, and in the United States territory in the Arctic (as that term is defined in section 112 of the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984 (15 U.S.C. 4111)); and
    (B) operated for a period of 30 years;
(2) the acquisition of services and the operation of each vessel begins on the same date; and
(3) the periods for conducting Coast Guard missions in the Arctic are of equal lengths.”

Project Duration: 12 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 12/20/2016
 Meeting 2 - 02/13/2017
 Meeting 3 - 03/24/2017
 Meeting 4 - 04/11/2017
 Meeting 5 - 05/09/2017


Reports having no URL can be seen
at the Public Access Records Office
Acquisition and Operation of Polar Icebreakers: Fulfilling the Nation’s Needs