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JUNEAU - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says the temporary loss of the nation's only working heavy icebreaker threatens the nation's ability to respond to Arctic emergencies.
Murkowski's office says the Alaska Republican has introduced legislation to fund the construction of two Polar class icebreakers, as well as to improve Arctic navigation and maritime infrastructure.
Murkowski says she was notified by the Coast Guard that the nation's only working heavy icebreaker would be out of service until at least January because of engine problems. Her office says the vessel, commissioned in 1978, has exceeded its intended 30-year life. The Coast Guard did work on the icebreaker in 2006 that was to extend its service life to 2014.