Interest in Arctic shipping routes as well as the development of natural resources in remote Arctic regions has increased in recent years. This presents many new challenges in the design of vessels and their operations in harsh environments. Increased maritime activities in the Arctic also demand increased presence of government vessels capable of operating in the high Arctic in order to provide security and emergency services. The US Coast Guard (USCG) has a long history of operating icebreakers in Polar regions and its design practice employs a rational engineering approach supported by actual service experience including results from full-scale ice load measurements. One of the recent developments in the ice strengthening rules of hull structures is the adoption of Polar Class requirements developed by the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) and other coastal state authorities under the guidance of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). This paper presents a comparison of the structure of the existing USCG icebreakers to IMO/IACS Polar Class structure requirements.

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