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

Navigation

New e-Navigation Technologies from Transas

Transas Marine introduced new software solutions for voyage planning and fleet management at SMM 2014 as a step towards becoming the forerunner in the development of e-Navigation technologies.

Bulgarian Naval Academy Installs VSTEP Simulators

The Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy in Varna purchased a 360° Class A Full Mission Bridge simulator and an Incident Management Simulator for training of its Naval and Merchant marine students.

Maritime Academy Awarded DHS Grant for Arctic Training

Maine Maritime Academy receives $450,000 grant From U.S. Department of Homeland Security for ice navigation and maritime first responder courses for the Arctic Maine

Environmental

Impact of Upcoming Regulations on Wreck Removal

The Nairobi International Convention on wreck removal was ratified by India recently and will be enforceable from April next year. This will place financial responsibility

ICS Counsels Wisdom on Ballast Water Convention

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has reiterated its call for governments to address the serious implementation issues concerning the IMO Ballast Water

Maritime Academy Awarded DHS Grant for Arctic Training

Maine Maritime Academy receives $450,000 grant From U.S. Department of Homeland Security for ice navigation and maritime first responder courses for the Arctic Maine

News

Arctic Wreck Found after 169 Years

After more than 169 years, Canadian researchers discovered one of the two ships from the doomed Arctic expedition of Sir John Franklin, cracking one of the largest mysteries in sea exploration.

URAG Orders Two ASD Tugs from Damen

URAG, a German port and offshore towage provider based in Bremerhaven, has placed an order for two Damen ASD 2411 tugs. The contract was signed at the SMM exhibition in Hamburg.

Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Delivers Fourth PSV

Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) delivered the fourth high value platform supply vessel (PSV) for BP Shipping at its main shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea. HMD won

Coast Guard

Lake Charles Tugboat Engine Room Fire Extinguished

The Coast Guard informs that along with the Black Bayou Fire Department it has responded to a tugboat on fire near Lake Charles, Louisiana. At approximately 1:15 p.

Maritime Academy Awarded DHS Grant for Arctic Training

Maine Maritime Academy receives $450,000 grant From U.S. Department of Homeland Security for ice navigation and maritime first responder courses for the Arctic Maine

Great Lakes Dry Cargo Residue Discharge Rule in Effect

The U.S. Coast Guard published a final rule to the Federal Register announcing that it has received approval from the Office of Management and Budget for an information

Maritime Safety

Bangladeshi Albedo Survivors Helped by their Govt.

Yesterday, 16th September 2014, Chirag Bahri, MPHRP's Regional Director for South Asia, attended a ceremonial event organised by the Ministry of Shipping, Bangladesh

Simmons Assumes Command of USS James E. Williams

Capt. Anthony L. Simmons relieved Cmdr. Curtis B. Calloway as commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) at sea on Sept.

Ship Safety: IMO Committee Agree Draft IGF Code

IMO informs that the draft International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code), along with proposed amendments to make the Code mandatory under SOLAS,

Great Lakes

Great Lakes Dry Cargo Residue Discharge Rule in Effect

The U.S. Coast Guard published a final rule to the Federal Register announcing that it has received approval from the Office of Management and Budget for an information

USCG, Enbridge to Conduct Oil Spill Response Exercise

The Coast Guard 9th District, partner agencies, and Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership will conduct a full-scale oil spill response exercise in Indian River, Michigan, Wednesday.

Pesticides a Concern for Aquatic Life in U.S. Rivers & Streams

Levels of pesticides continue to be a concern for aquatic life in many of the Nation’s rivers and streams in agricultural and urban areas, according to a new

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Navigation Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
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: 0.2411 sec (4 req/sec)