USCGC STORIS Life and Death of a Queen

NWPDcopy Acrossthetop NWPAcopy NWPCcopy
Across the Top of the

Northwest Passage

On 1 July 1957, STORIS departed Seattle with the Coast Guard cutters BRAMBLE and SPAR to search for a deep draft channel through the Arctic Ocean and to collect hydrographic information. This historic transit ended a 450-year search for the Northwest Passage - a route for large ships across the top of North America. Upon her return to Greenland waters, STORIS became the first U.S. registered vessel to circumnavigate the North American continent. In commemoration of this feat, the Canadian Government named one of the channels STORIS Passage.


Newsweek - July 15,1957

United States Coast Guard cutters STORIS, SPAR, and BRAMBLE were "bucking the broad swell" of the North Pacific this week, on their way to the Arctic and to the high adventure, their commanders hoped, of sailing across the roof of the continent to New York City. Their mission: To find an escape route for radar-line supply ships which might become trapped in the Arctic by ice or war.

Stations of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) radar line in the Arctic are supplied by sea. Ice could prevent ships from returning to the pacific and in time of war enemy planes and submarines might make the Bering Strait too dangerous to use. Hence the search for a way out to the Atlantic.