Coast Guard’s Polar Star heads to Arctic due to COVID-19

SEATTLE (AP) — The crew of the Polar Star, the U.S. Coast Guard’s only heavy-duty icebreaker, is preparing for a rare mission north to the Arctic after the coronavirus pandemic scuttled their usual journey. The Seattle-based Polar Star usually heads south to Antarctica to resupply a research station, but COVID-19 changed their plans. Captain Bill Woityra says the U.S. Antarctic program scaled back operations. They postponed most of the science that was going on and limited the number of people traveling to the continent. The crew is in quarantine and is being tested to ensure no one brings the virus onboard prior to their Friday departure. They return in late February.