Coast Guard Sets Up First Base in Warming Arctic

Plan to respond to oil spills and cruise ship emergencies
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Oct 19, 2007 12:20 PM CDT
A US Coast Guard icebreaker is shown on the Bering Sea.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The US Coast Guard is setting up a base in the rapidly warming Arctic to help patrol anticipated tanker and cruise-ship traffic in the hot new shipping area, reports the New York Times. Officials have also begun discussions with Russia about controlling expected traffic in the Bering Strait. The base, the first in the region, will likely be in Barrow, Alaska, America's northernmost town.

The base could be in place by spring and will initially include a helicopter and several small boats. Officials hope the location will help the Coast Guard respond to emergencies on cruise ships, already beginning to ply the warmer waters, and oil spills from tankers expected to use a polar route to shave 5,000 miles off current southern routes.