USCG Concludes its Largest Domestic Icebreaking Operation

By Eric Haun
Friday, May 16, 2014
The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, homeported in Cheboygan, Mich., conducts an escort on Lake Superior near Whitefish Point April 3, 2014. (USCG photo)

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) crews concluded the nation’s largest domestic ice operation known as Taconite, Thursday, after more than five months of icebreaking operations in the Northern Great Lakes.

Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, plans and runs Operation Taconite, which includes all of Lakes Superior and Michigan, the northern half of Lake Huron, the St. Marys River and the Straits of Mackinac.

During the 160 days of the operation, nine U.S. Coast Guard and three Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers spent more than 5,000 hours breaking ice for convoys and assisted in 946 commercial vessel transits that moved an estimated 33 million tons of dry bulk and liquid cargoes, valued at $1.2 billion. These commodities were crucial to sustaining industrial production and power generation for the Great Lakes region during the winter months. Icebreakers provided direct assistance for 517 of the transits.

An additional 5,597 hours of icebreaking established and maintained tracks through the ice-choked waterways of Georgian Bay, Straits of Mackinac, Green Bay, southern Lake Michigan, St. Marys River, and across Lake Superior.

U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard aviators flew 43 sorties in direct support of the icebreaking operation, providing a bird's-eye view of ice coverage, track quality and open water.

Although official statistics have not been released, it is reported the 2013-14 winter season produced the thickest and most expansive ice cover the Great Lakes has experienced in 35 years.



Icebreaking crews experienced the dramatic conditions first-hand. In February 2014, the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay spent eight days escorting the motor tanker Algocanada’s up the St. Marys River, a transit that takes 12 hours under historical ice conditions. The Katmai Bay’s crew had to stop the escort twice to refuel.



In March, the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, the Coast Guard’s most powerful icebreaker in the Great Lakes, led the tug Joyce L. Van Ekenvort with barge Great Lakes Trader on the season's first westbound crossing of the Straits of Mackinac. The typically 12-hour voyage lasted four days. The Joyce L. Van Ekenvort is the most powerful tugboat on the Great Lakes.

The crew of Mackinaw also led the first eastbound crossing of Lake Superior. Their voyage lasted nine days, though it usually takes 24 hours.


The first load of iron ore, from Two Harbors, Minnesota to Gary Harbor, Indiana, took 13 days to deliver, which is normally a three day voyage.


uscgnews.com
 

Maritime Reporter October 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Environmental

What’s All the Noise at IMO?

Shipping may think they hear the sound of new regulations as they are slammed onto their desks.  What is all the noise concerning noise at IMO?  This may very well be the question from ship owners,

Will Congress Pass Any Maritime Legislation in 2014?

Following its usual summer break over August 2014, Congress came back from its five-week summer recess and spent a whopping eight days or so back in session before recessing once again,

ICS Addresses OECD Shipbuilding Working Party

The OECD should be cautious about becoming involved in the question of what constitutes an ‘eco-ship’, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) said to governments

News

US House to Hold Hearing on Oil Export Ban

A House of Representatives panel will hold a hearing on Dec. 11 to explore whether a decades-old law that prohibits the export of crude oil makes sense in an era of domestic energy abundance.

Bollinger Delivers 11th FRC to the US Coast Guard

Bollinger Shipyards, Inc. has delivered the William Trump, the 11th Fast Response Cutter (FRC) to the United States Coast Guard.   The announcement was made by Bollinger Chief Operating Officer,

Australian Defence Minister Says Would Not Trust Submarine Firm to Build Canoe

Australia's defence minister has said he would not trust state-owned Australian Submarine Corp (ASC) "to build a canoe", fuelling expectations that most work in

Coast Guard

Bollinger Delivers 11th FRC to the US Coast Guard

Bollinger Shipyards, Inc. has delivered the William Trump, the 11th Fast Response Cutter (FRC) to the United States Coast Guard.   The announcement was made by Bollinger Chief Operating Officer,

The Legal Consequences of 46 CFR Subchapter “M”

As the holiday season and the end of another year quickly approaches, the towing industry patiently waits for the Coast Guard to finalize the long-awaited towing vessel inspection rule.

Migrant Rescue Draws Budget Concerns in the Mediterranean

Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI) has raised concerns about the implications for masters of the recent reports of the launch of the new EU Frontex operation

Maritime Safety

Avoiding the Edges of the Sea

Mariners do best when they avoid the edges of the sea – the shoals, rocks, and other hard spots.  Coming into contact with the edges of the sea at other than a

The Legal Consequences of 46 CFR Subchapter “M”

As the holiday season and the end of another year quickly approaches, the towing industry patiently waits for the Coast Guard to finalize the long-awaited towing vessel inspection rule.

Fire Departments Choose Sea-Fire Systems

Metalcraft Marine's Firestorm high-speed, aluminum fireboat represents a new generation in vessel technology, especially when fitted with Sea-Fire H Series engineered fire suppression systems.

Great Lakes

USCG Medevacs 80 Yr-Old Near Lake Michigan

A Coast Guard aircrew medically evacuated an 80-year-old man off Beaver Island in Lake Michigan Sunday night. The man’s name is not being released. At 5:40 p.

Great Lakes Coal Up 9% in October

Shipments from Lake Erie nearly double that of a year ago Coal shipments on the Great Lakes topped 3 million tons in October, an increase of 9 percent compared to a year ago,

 
 
Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1695 sec (6 req/sec)