The Manitowoc Company, Inc. held a keel laying ceremony yesterday at its Marinette Marine subsidiary for the Coast Guard's newest icebreaker, the Mackinaw..
The ceremony featured Admiral Thomas Collins, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard
, as the keynote speaker, with Jean Hastert, wife of J. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House, serving as the ship's sponsor and authenticator.
"The construction of this multi-mission vessel further demonstrates Manitowoc's superior technical and engineering capabilities," said Dennis McCloskey, president of Manitowoc Marine Group. "We are on schedule to deliver this innovative icebreaker in 2005. Not only is the Mackinaw the newest vessel we're building for the U.S. Coast Guard, it follows a series of 30 buoy tenders that we have built, many of which are now operating in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, in the Gulf of Mexico, and on the Great Lakes."
The Mackinaw will be approximately 240 ft. long, 60 ft. wide, and displace 3,500 long tons. It replaces a Coast Guard icebreaker of the same name, which has served the Great Lakes maritime
industry for nearly 60 years. In addition to breaking ice for the primary shipping lanes on the Great Lakes, the multi-mission Mackinaw will service aids to navigation, as well as performing search and rescue, pollution control, homeland security, and law enforcement duties from its homeport of Cheboygan, Mich.