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

Workboats

Naviera Integral Orders Damen Fast Crew Suppliers

Naviera Integral of Mexico is the launching customer of Damen’s new Sea Axe Fast Crew Supply vessel, the FCS 4008. President of Naviera Integral, Juan Pablo Vega,

Z-Drive Tech Spreads on US Waterways

Enterprise Marine Services, a subsidiary of Enterprise Products Partners L.P., is making a major commitment to Z-Drives for the U.S. inland waterways. They currently

DBR Delivers 42 Gensets to Damen

DBR has delivered the last units of an order totaling 42 marine generator sets for Damen Shipyards Gorinchem. The generator sets will be installed on 14 ASD tugs

Coast Guard

USCG Cutter Diligence Returns

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returned to Wilmington following a 45-day patrol in the Caribbean Sea. While on patrol, Diligence served as the

Partnerships Key to Caribbean Maritime Security

Planning and execution of port and maritime safety and security in Caribbean region is all about partnerships Maritime security and safety experts are meeting in Nassau,

USCG Suspends Search for the 2 Migrants

The Coast Guard suspended its search Wednesday at 3 p.m. for two missing Cuban migrants in the vicinity of Caesar Creek, Florida, to Haulover Inlet, Florida.

Logistics

Southern California Port Congestion

Hapag-Lloyd informs about the congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that has reached a critical point. I. Several container ships are anchoring

Confidence High in UK Logistics Sector

The latest U.K. Logistics Confidence Index commissioned by Barclays and Moore Stephens reveals that confidence in the U.K. logistics sector remains high but more

Kirby Corp. Announces Record 3Q Results

Record 2014 third quarter earnings per share of $1.34 compared with $1.21 in the 2013 third quarter, which included a $0.08 benefit due to the reduction of the United earnout liability.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction 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: 0.2011 sec (5 req/sec)