USCGC Healy icebreaker accidents and incidents

CruiseMapper's USCGC Healy icebreaker cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 105-passenger vessel owned by USCG-US Coast Guard (Icebreakers). Our USCGC Healy icebreaker accidents page contains reports made by using official data from renown online news media sources, US Coast Guard and Wikipedia.

Here are also reported latest updates on cruise law news related to ashore and shipboard crimes still investigated by the police. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • fire - 2020
  • crew deaths - 2006 (2x divers)

30 September 2022Other Incidents

On September 30, 2022, USCGC Healy unaccompanied reached the North Pole for a second time - the first being in 2015. The vessel was mastered by Captain Kenneth Boda.

For the Arctic Ocean voyage, the icebreaker departed from Alaska (Dutch Harbor/Amaknak Island Unalaska) on September 4th, reaching the latitude 90 degrees north. The USCG oceanographic research mission was a collaboration with scientists funded by NSF-National Science Foundation.

USCGC Healy's 2022-2023 Arctic deployment started on July 11th, following the departure from homebase Seattle WA. The boat carried 34 scientists and technicians (from multiple USA universities and institutions) plus ~100 crew/active duty personnel. The mission included deploying various research equipment (underwater sensors, sea gliders, acoustic buoys) for studying hydrodynamics in the frozen Arctic.

In July-August, the icebreaker navigated in Beaufort and Chukchi seas, reaching as far as 78 degrees north.

18 August 2020Fire Accident

At 9:30 pm AKST/Alaskan time (0:30 UTC) on August 18, 2020, the icebreaker reported an electrical fire accident. The high-voltage fire was in the starboard propulsion motor and resulted in propulsion system failure. No injuries were reported.

The onboard fire team disconnected the motor and extinguished the fire by 9:56 pm. The ship was approx 70 mi (110 km) off Seward Alaska, en route for Arctic Ocean operations. As a result of the accident, all the scheduled by the USCG Arctic operations were canceled.

On August 15th, the icebreaker was in Seward AK where embarked 11 scientists. Prior to the voyage, the ship completed a 26-day support mission as part of "Operation Arctic Shield 2020" (along the USA-Russia Maritime Boundary Line) that started on July 1st.

To replace the electrical motor, Healy returned to homeport Seattle WA and drydocked at Vigor Industrial's shipyard. The unit (weighing 100 tons) was replaced in November. During the drydocking, a section of the forward-starboard hull was cut off and removed to allow the damaged motor to be replaced.

Following the repairs, the ship departed on a Northwest Passage voyage around North America.

17 August 2006Crew / Passenger Deaths

On August 17, 2006, two of the icebreaker's crew members died during diving operations in the Arctic Ocean.

Initial reports indicated that during the incident, both divers - Jessica Hill (Lieutenant) and Stephen Duque (PO2/Petty Officer 2) - were conducting a routine underwater rudder inspection. However, later was reported that they were actually conducting cold-water dive training (near the hull's bow) with a planned max depth 20 ft (6 m). Later, citing autopsy reports, Jessica Hill's father indicated that she actually dived to a depth of ~200 ft (61 m). Both divers were tended by poorly-instructed personnel, not familiar with cold-water diving in general. By the time the divers could be pulled to the surface, their diving cylinders were empty and neither of them could be revived.

Following the incident, on August 30th, Vice Admiral Charles Wuster temporarily relieved of duty the ship's Master (Captain Douglas G. Russell), citing a "loss of confidence" in his ability to command. Captain Russell was later relieved permanently by Admiral Thad Allen (USCG's Commandant).

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