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The Coast Guard cutter Polar Star breaks ice in McMurdo Sound near Antarctica, January 10, 2018.

The US’s only icebreaker made its annual trip to Antarctica, and it got banged up on the way

Icebreaker Polar Star is the only ship that can smash its way through Antarctic ice, but the annual mission batters the aging vessel.
Coast Guard cutter Polar Star crew members on the ice about 13 miles from McMurdo Station in Antarctica, January 26, 2018.

The Coast Guard turned down a request for an Arctic exercise out of concern the US’ only heavy icebreaker would break down and Russia would have...

The US' sole polar icebreaker, the Polar Star, is more than 40 years old, and keeping it running requires a lot of work.
The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star cuts through Antarctic ice in the Ross Sea near a large group of seals as the ship’s crew creates a navigation channel for supply ships, January 16, 2017.

The Coast Guard is asking for $15 million to keep its only heavy icebreaker afloat — and for $750 million to finally build a new one

"If we wait another four or five years" to build a new icebreaker, the head of the Coast Guard said, "it's not going to get easier any time in the future."