Admiral: Coast Guard needs greater Arctic presence

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SEATTLE (AP) -- Adm. Bob Papp says the Coast Guard's presence in the Arctic is a far cry from what it needs to be.

The Coast Guard commandant says new shipping lanes, increasing tourism, new access to fish stocks and especially the promise of oil and gas drilling have set off something of an Arctic gold rush.

The Coast Guard is reviewing what it needs for Arctic operations, including the possibility of an at-least-seasonal air base in northern Alaska. The agency also hopes to conduct a $5 million study of its icebreaking needs.

The Seattle-based icebreaker Healy sailed out on Friday with a crew of 85 for a seven-month deployment to the far north.