The Great Lakes Towing Company came to the aid of the United States Coast Guard Monday night in the St. Marys River just two miles east of the U.S. Coast Guard Station, Sector Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. The 140-foot Bay-class Icebreaking Tug Katmai Bay (WTGB 101) was dead in the icy waters and required towing assistance to its homeport dock. Around 10:45pm Monday night, The Towing Company Tug Missouri was dispatched to break ice and assist the USCGC Katmai Bay back to its dock two hours later.
The Tug Missouri is also homeported in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan to assist vessels through the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers locks and to provide emergency rescue assistance and icebreaking when needed. The locks connect Lake Superior to Lake Huron. This winter, the Missouri and other tugs of The Great Lakes Towing Company fleet have been extremely busy providing icebreaking assistance to vessels on all the Great Lakes.
The Great Lakes Towing Company collaborates and coordinates its ice breaking operations with the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaking task groups on the Great Lakes, namely Sector Detroit’s “Operation Taconite” and Sector Sault Ste Marie’s “Operation Coal Shovel.” “Operation Taconite” is the largest domestic icebreaking operation in the United States. For the past 115 years, the Towing Company has provided commercial ice breaking in ports and harbors throughout the Great Lakes. The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards provide icebreaking assistance in waters where commercial icebreaking resources are either unavailable or incapable of handling the difficult ice conditions.