Coast Guard Cutter SPAR conducts village outreach in Arctic

BARROW, Alaska - The Coast Guard Cutter SPAR anchors of the coast of Barrow Aug. 5 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Bechtel.

BARROW, Alaska - The Coast Guard Cutter SPAR anchors of the coast of Barrow Aug. 5 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Bechtel.

The Coast Guard Cutter SPAR and crew completed their first stop in the 2011 Summer Arctic Run to Barrow Sunday.

The SPAR’s crew is currently in the process of the Arctic mission with their primary mission being the completion of a joint towing exercise with the Foss Maritime Company and the Alaska Air National Guard. The exercise will test the capabilities of emergency towing systems in the Arctic environment.

The cutter’s crew arrived off the coast of Barrow Friday morning and the small boat crews transported members of the cutter to shore throughout the course of the day. The SPAR’s crew received a shipment of penthrite from the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission while in Barrow. The penthrite is scheduled to be delivered to AEWC villages to help conduct subsistence hunting in the most humane and non-wasteful manner possible. During the Arctic Run, the SPAR crew will visit the villages of Point Hope, Kivalina, Wales and Little Diomede.

In addition to the penthrite delivery, the cutter’s crew will conduct medical outreach and community service projects in those villages. The crew also plans to educate local villages on the importance of safe maritime practices, such as the proper use of personal flotation devices.

The SPAR was commissioned in 2001 and is the sixth of the Coast Guard’s 225-foot Juniper Class oceangoing buoy tenders. Its nickname, “The Aleutian Keeper,” comes from its primary mission of servicing aids to navigation in the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea. The SPAR also conducts search and rescue, maritime law enforcement and environmental response missions within this area of responsibility.

For more information about Spar, click here.

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