Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Sitka based Coast Guard Cutter maple reached the Northwest Passage Thursday.
A release from Coast Guard District 17 calls its voyage "historic."
The Maple is accompanied by a Canadian Coast Guard vessel.
The Maple has traveled over 3,000 miles since departing Sitka July 12. The cutter is serving as a ship of opportunity to conduct scientific research in support of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
“One of our primary missions during this transit is to provide scientific support,” said Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Armstrong, commanding officer of the Maple. “Maple is scheduled for a year-long dry dock in Baltimore this August for repairs and upgrades. It is exciting to transit the Northwest Passage with an opportunity to assist with research aimed at understanding various species in this remote part of the world. Protecting life here begins with understanding it.”
The crew-members will conclude their historic voyage in Baltimore, Maryland, Aug. 23 where the cutter will undergo scheduled maintenance in dry dock at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore for repairs and upgrades.
This summer marks the 60th anniversary of the three Coast Guard cutters and one Canadian ship that convoyed through the Northwest Passage.
The crews of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Storis, SPAR and Bramble, along with the crew of the Canadian ice breaker HMCS Labrador, charted, recorded water depths and installed aids to navigation for future shipping lanes from May to September of 1957.
All four vessels became the first deep-draft ships to sail through the Northwest Passage, which are several passageways through the complex archipelago of the Canadian Arctic.