Logistics in Action: Keeping Cargo Moving

by Courtney Burnett for the Coast Guard Compass
Friday, May 03, 2013
U.S. Coast Guard cutters Biscayne Bay and Mackinaw break ice on the St. Mary’s River in Mich. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Rauch.

Although much of the country is welcoming spring and the warm weather that comes with it, many of the Great Lakes waterways are still laden with ice. Coast Guard icebreaking tugs continue to work on the lakes to keep critical shipping lanes clear for merchant vessels, remove hazardous obstructions to navigation and free ships stuck in ice. Their mission sustains a bi-national economy and keeps maritime crews safe.

This year’s icebreaking season has been a busy one filled with successful missions and a few unexpected challenges. One of the latter was a major electrical failure on board the icebreaking tug Biscayne Bay, homeported in St. Ignace, Mich. While this would be a lofty challenge to overcome, the centralized depot maintenance – resulting from modernization of the Coast Guard’s Surface Forces Logistics Center – repaired Biscayne Bay in a record 44 days.

An ice breaker breaks down


It’s a nightmare for every ship’s crew: the ship breaks, you don’t have the parts on board to fix it and you can’t complete your mission. Coast Guard engineers train and labor for thousands of hours, working day in and day out to maintain proficiency and keep the ship running. Crews take immense pride in their work, but some casualties are big enough they need to entrust their ship into someone else’s hands for repair.

Biscayne Bay suffered a catastrophic casualty Jan. 2, 2013, in the frozen Straits of Mackinac, Mich., preventing the cutter from completing its primary missions. As one of nine cutters expected to perform the domestic icebreaking mission alongside other U.S. and Canadian icebreaking cutters in the Great Lakes, the casualty threatened to relegate the ship and its crew to the sidelines.

Single point of contact, 24/7 support

Biscayne Bay reported the casualty to the Icebreaker, Buoy and Construction Tender Product Line in Baltimore, Md., where they quickly sprang into action. Naval Engineering Support Unit Cleveland sent a maintenance augmentation team to test Biscayne Bay’s main motor while the ship’s crew anxiously awaited the news. The results were exactly what they feared: Biscayne Bay’s main motor armature was broken.

The 140-foot tug class is a single-shaft cutter powered by one main motor. Suffering a casualty to a component of the main motor impairs the Biscayne Bay’s ability to get underway on its own power, rendering the tug not fully mission capable.

Taking a week, the Michigan-based Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw escorted the wounded tug south through frigid Michigan waterways to Sector Detroit. That was the easy part. Any seafarer knows critical repairs require extensive skill, knowledge and patience by engineers, contractors and ship’s crew. And every day the Biscayne Bay sat at the pier meant another day the rest of the region’s cutters would shoulder an increased workload to keep cargo moving across the lakes.

Communication and coordination


The geographically dispersed SFLC communicated and coordinated rapidly. The industrial operations division in Norfolk, Va., tasked Industrial Production Facility Detroit with preparatory work to remove the main motor. Tradesmen cut a hole in Biscayne Bay’s deck, disassembled the main motor and worked with the ship’s crew to remove the broken machinery on Jan. 24.

While the engine was taken apart and removed in Detroit, the SFLC contracting staff secured a commercial vendor and scheduled shipment of the armature for refurbishment by an Ohio motor repair contractor.

Thanks to seamless coordination between several SFLC offices across the United States, the original armature was repaired within a week and returned to Detroit for installation on Feb. 1. Engineers completed operational tests on the main motor and ensured compliance with safety standards. IPF Detroit tradesmen welded the hole through which the armature had been removed. On Feb. 12, the Biscayne Bay departed for sea trials and three days later, the ship returned to its duties.

In just 44 days, the SFLC restored an incapacitated Coast Guard asset to a fully functional icebreaking tug. When the ship’s commanding officer, Lt. Tom Przybyla, looked at his boat and thought of what was so quickly accomplished, he swore he saw Biscayne Bay smiling, happy to be back breaking ice on Michigan’s waterways.

Story from the Coast Guard Compass, official blog of the U.S. Coast Guard: coastguard.dodlive.mil

  • In just 44 days, the Surface Forces Logistics Center restored an incapacitated Coast Guard asset to a fully functional ice-breaking tug. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

    In just 44 days, the Surface Forces Logistics Center restored an incapacitated Coast Guard asset to a fully functional ice-breaking tug. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

  • Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay breaking ice and escorting ships on the Straits of Mackinac during the 2013 icebreaking season . U.S. Coast Guard photo.

    Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay breaking ice and escorting ships on the Straits of Mackinac during the 2013 icebreaking season . U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Maritime Reporter May 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Workboats

Ailing Mariner Medevaced Near Alaska

A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew medevaced an ailing mariner from Deep Bay, 25 miles north of Sitka, Sunday.   The Jayhawk crew

Natural Gas Articulated Conduit System Patented

Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) announced that long-time partner Moran Towing Corporation has been granted US Patent 8,967,174 for "Articulated conduit systems

New Bridge Unveiled for US Pushboats

New pushboat bridge unveiled for USA Inland Shipping Expo JRC and Alphatron Marine will introduce a new pushboat bridge concept dedicated for the American river and inland waterways.

Coast Guard

Ailing Mariner Medevaced Near Alaska

A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew medevaced an ailing mariner from Deep Bay, 25 miles north of Sitka, Sunday.   The Jayhawk crew

Rising from the Ashes

The federal government is now taking steps to reverse its 2010 decision to terminate the nation’s LORAN program. The LORAN program was initiated during World War II,

More Type Approvals for Danelec VDRs, S-VDRs

Danelec Marine has received type approvals from the U.S. Coast Guard and China Classification Society (CCS) for its DM100 series Voyage Data Recorders (VDRs).   The U.

Arctic Operations

US Senators Want a Stop to Arctic Drilling

Eighteen U. S. senators have urged the Obama’s administration to halt Shell’s Arctic drilling plans saying that it is an unacceptable and irresponsible decision, says a report in Reuters.

Arctic Sea Ice Decline

Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is at its lowest May level since records began in the 1980s, says Al Jazeera.    The lowest levels in the history of Arctic sea ice

Alaska, Washington to Build Arctic Icebreakers

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, and Senator Maria Cantwell, Washington, have introduced a bill that would authorize the Navy to build up six icebreakers for use by the U.

Logistics

CMA CGM Launches New TransAtlantic Service

The CMA CGM Group announced that it will launch a new container shipping offering between North America and North Europe at the end of May 2015. The group will

Snarled in Traffic, Intermodal Answers Include the Water

It was just last month that the (challenged) Keefe family packed up the SUV and set out for a little bit of spring break fun, mixed in with a college visit for my son,

Harnessing Offshore Wind Peaks in U.S.

For the US energy industry, 2014 will be remembered as the year when crude oil prices fell below 50$/bbl, resulting in significant realignments in the sector.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Offshore Oil Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.2725 sec (4 req/sec)