Icebreaker Healy Arrives in Baltimore

Coast Guard Cutter Healy (WAGB  20) arrived in Baltimore for a port call following its recent transit of the Arctic’s Northwest Passage, Wednesday morning.

Healy is one of the Coast Guard’s polar-capable icebreakers and operates as a multi-mission vessel to protect American interests in the Arctic region. The Healy crew most recently conducted a port call in Boston, Massachusetts, where the crew took part in a joint event along with representatives of the Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to announce the discovery of the wreckage of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear, which was discovered in October 2021 south of Sable Island.

The Healy has a longstanding tie to the Bear, as the Healy was named after a captain of the Bear who served from 1886-1895, known as “Hell Roaring Mike” Healy. In 1999 the Healy was commissioned and named in his honor.

The USRC Bear, like the Healy, was a ship that conducted service in the Arctic region in the 19th and 20th century. It was built in Scotland in 1874 as a steamer ship and purchased by the U.S. government in 1884 for service in the U.S. Navy as part of the rescue fleet for the Greely Expedition to the Arctic, which gave world-wide acclaim as the vessel that rescued the few survivors of that disastrous expedition. In 1885, the Bear was transferred from the Treasury Department for service in the Arctic as a Revenue Cutter and for 41 years it patrolled the Arctic performing search and rescue, law enforcement operations, conducting censuses of people and ships, recording geological and astronomical information, recording tides and escort whaling ships. During World War II, the Bear served during the Greenland Patrols and participated in the capture of a German spy vessel, the trawler Buskoe. It was decommissioned in 1944 and was lost at sea while being towed in 1963.

For nearly two decades, NOAA Ocean Exploration, the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ Maritime Heritage Program, the U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development center, and a number of academic research partners have been engaged in a search for the final resting place of U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear.

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