Begich: Coast Guard has plan for heavy icebreaker

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Mark Begich says the Coast Guard is including $860 million in its five-year budget plan for a new heavy polar icebreaker.

The Alaska Democrat says in a release that news of the plan came at a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Oceans, Fisheries and Coast Guard Subcommittee. Begich is subcommittee chairman.

Alaska's congressional delegation has pushed for an icebreaker as Arctic waters become a focus for petroleum drilling, tourism and transportation.

The country has two heavy icebreakers. The 399-foot Polar Sea has been docked in Seattle since experiencing engine problems in 2010. Its sister ship, the Polar Star, is going through $57 million in upgrades.

The medium icebreaker Healy is in service.

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security had no immediate response after business hours Wednesday.