Marys River News

07 Jan 2019

Coast Guard Begins Ice Breaking Ops in the Western Great Lakes

File Image: USCG Credit

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie commenced Operation Taconite, the Coast Guard’s largest domestic icebreaking operation, Monday, in response to expanded ice growth in the commercial ports of Western Lake Superior and the St. Marys River.Operation Taconite encompasses Lake Superior, St. Marys River, Straits of Mackinac, Georgian Bay, Green Bay, northern Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan. Ice breaking operations are based on the following order of priorities: search and rescue…

12 Apr 2018

Season’s First Saltie Heads for Duluth-Superior

© Dianne Temple / MarineTraffic.com

The first ‘saltie’ of the 2018 commercial navigation season is on its way to the Port of Duluth-Superior. The 656-foot bulk carrier Federal Weser is scheduled to pass beneath Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge by 10 p.m. tonight and is expected to start loading Monday morning at the CHS terminal on the Superior side of the harbor. If all goes according to plan, the ship should depart late Tuesday or Wednesday with 21,400 metric tons of durum wheat bound for Algeria. The Federal Weser, part of the Fednav fleet, last visited the Twin Ports in 2015.

15 Dec 2017

USCG Begins Icebreaking in the Western Great Lakes

The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, a 240-foot heavy icebreaker, breaks ice near Marine City, Mich., along the St. Clair River, Jan. 28, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Daniel R. Michelson)

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie has commenced icebreaking Operation Taconite in response to expanded ice growth in the commercial ports of western Lake Superior and the lower St. Marys River. Before ice impedes commercial navigation, icebreakers were assigned to each region. U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alder was assigned to manage the ice breaking needs of western Lake Superior, specifically the twin ports of Duluth, Minn., and Superior, Wisc., as well as the Port of Thunder Bay, Ont. U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay was assigned to the St. Marys River.

14 Aug 2017

Cargo Ship Runs Aground in Saint Marys River

The 629-foot cargo vessel Calumet sits hard aground in the St. Mary's River southeast of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, while a Coast Guard response boat - medium encircles the vessel, August 10, 2017. The vessel was heading to its next port of call in Brevort, Michigan when it ran aground. (US Coast Guard photo)

The St. Marys River is closed to commercial vessels from the Soo Locks to 6 Mile Point, after a 629-foot U.S. cargo ship ran aground on the north side of Sugar Island, Wednesday, at about 11:40 p.m. The merchant vessel, Calumet, departed Essar Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. and was transiting downbound on the St. Marys River to its next port of call in Brevort, Mich., when it ran aground. The vessel was not carrying any cargo. There was no pollution, and no injuries have been reported. The U.S. Coast Guard is monitoring the vessel, and the U.S.

10 Aug 2017

Merchant Vessel Aground in Saint Marys River

A 629-foot U.S. cargo ship ran aground on the north side of Sugar Island in the St. Marys River, Wednesday at 11:40 p.m. The merchant vessel Calumet departed ESSAR Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and was transiting downbound in the St. Marys River to its next port of call in Brevort, Michigan, when it ran aground. The U.S. Coast Guard is on scene and no injuries have been reported. The vessel is currently aground and stable. There are currently no signs of pollution. The St. Marys River is closed to commercial vessels from the Soo Locks to 6 Mile Point. The vessel’s company, Grand River Navigation Inc., is taking precautionary measures to help ensure the safety of the environment and developing a salvage plan. The cause of the grounding is under investigation. Source: U.S.

19 Dec 2016

Ice breaking Begins in Great Lakes

The Coast Guard Cutter Alder approaches the Portage Lake Lift Bridge in Houghton, Mich., Dec. 16, 2016. The Alder and other Great Lakes Coast Guard cutters commenced Operation Taconite, the Coast Guard’s largest domestic ice-breaking operation, encompassing Lake Superior, the St. Mary’s River, the Straits of Mackinac and Lake Michigan, Dec. 19, 2016. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie commenced Operation Taconite Monday in response to developing ice conditions in the commercial ports of western Lake Superior and the St Marys River. Operation Taconite is the Coast Guard’s largest domestic ice-breaking operation, encompassing Lake Superior, the St. Mary’s River, the Straits of Mackinac and Lake Michigan. As a result of the operation, certain waterways may close after due consideration is given to the protection of the marine environment…

24 Mar 2016

US, Canadian Coast Guards Leaders Discuss Partnership

Julie Gascon, Assistant Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard’s Central and Arctic Region and Rear Adm. June Ryan, the commander of the USCG 9th District met with their employees aboard Coast Guard ships and a CCG helicopter in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario and Sault Ste. Marie Michigan March 21 2016. (Photo credit: USCG)

Rear Adm. June E. Ryan, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Ninth District, was welcomed aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley by Assistant Commissioner Julie Gascon and Captain Signe Gotfredsen of the Canadian Coast Guard, Central and Arctic Region Monday. After a relatively mild winter on the Great Lakes escorting ships through ice and preventing ice jams, the Samuel Risley was upbound through the Soo Locks and the St. Marys River to Lake Superior for further icebreaking at the Port of Thunder Bay and buoy-tending duties.

15 Jan 2016

USCG Begins Icebreaking in Western Great Lakes

Cutter Mackinaw (USCG file photo)

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste Marie on Wednesday commenced Operation Taconite, an icebreaking mission launched in response to expanded ice growth in the commercial ports of western Lake Superior, Green Bay and the lower St. Marys River. Before ice impeded commercial navigation, several icebreakers were assigned to each region. Recently, Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw was dispatched to assist two vessels into the Port of Green Bay. Coast Guard Cutter Alder was assigned to manage the ice breaking needs of western Lake Superior, specifically the twin ports of Duluth, Minn., and Superior, Wisc.

09 Jan 2016

USCG Warns of Unsafe Ice

Unsafe Ice Courtesy USCG

The Coast Guard is urging people to use extreme caution when venturing onto the ice across Lake Superior, St. Marys River, and the northern parts of lakes Michigan and Huron with the forecasted rain and snow predicted this weekend. The snow-covered ice will give a false appearance that the ice is safe. Ice is unpredictable and the thickness can vary, even in small areas. Water currents, particularly around narrow spots, bridges, inlets and outlets, are always suspect for thin ice. Stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges, slushy areas and darker areas since these signify thinner ice.

27 Apr 2015

Grounded Bulker Refloated on St. Marys River

Cargo from the grounded 603-foot Canadian bulk carrier Mississagi (right) is offloaded onto a barge as lightering operations commenced to refloat the vessel April 25, 2015. The Mississagi became grounded early Wednesday whi

The grounded 603-foot Canadian bulk carrier Mississagi was refloated on the St. Marys River following operations to offload approximately 2,000 tons of stone, Saturday. The motor vessel, carrying more than 17,000 tons of stone, was transiting downbound the St. Marys River from Bruce Mines, Ontario early Wednesday when it ran aground in the Potagannissing Bay, approximately four miles northeast of De Tour Village. Lightering operations began at 8 a.m. under the supervision of Coast Guard marine inspectors and pollution responders. The vessel was refloated by 1 p.m.

24 Apr 2015

USCG Responding to Vessel Aground in St. Marys River

The motor vessel Mississagi sits aground in the lower St. Marys River near De Tour Village, Mich., April 22, 2015. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Air Station

The Coast Guard continues to monitor the 603-foot bulk carrier Mississagi which ran aground in the St. Marys River near De Tour Village, Michigan early Wednesday. The motor vessel, a Canadian-flagged bulk carrier with a load of stone, was transiting downbound the St. Marys River from Bruce Mines, Ontario, when it ran aground in the Potagannissing Bay, approximately 4 miles northeast of De Tour Village. The bow of the vessel is aground. There are no reported injuries to the crew and no reported pollution.

22 Apr 2015

Bulker Aground in St. Marys River

The motor vessel Mississagi sits aground in the lower St. Marys River near De Tour Village, Mich., April 22, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City)

A 603-foot bulk carrier ran aground in the St. Marys River near De Tour Village, Michigan, early Wednesday. The motor vessel Mississagi, a Canadian-flagged bulk carrier with a load of stone, was transiting downbound the St. Marys River from Bruce Mines, Ontario, when it ran aground in the Potagannissing Bay approximately 4 miles northeast of De Tour Village, the U.S. Coast Guard reported. There are no reported injuries to the crew and no reported pollution. At about 1 a.m., the master of the motor vessel Mississagi notified a watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste Marie…

28 Mar 2015

USCG Flush Ice down River Systems to Facilitate Shipping

courtesy USCG

The Coast Guard cutter fleet is flushing ice through the Great Lakes river systems to prevent ice jams and facilitate commercial shipping as the shipping season begins and the ice on the Great Lakes dissipates. Ice breaking operations, above freezing-temperatures, and rain has caused plate ice to weaken, creating large and small ice floes through the Great Lakes and its river systems. These ice floes, if not managed and flushed, can create thick brash ice that can clog the mouths and connection points of the rivers, which can cause significant flooding and block shipping channels.

27 Mar 2015

USCG Conducting Ice Flushing Operations

 The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay conducts ice-flushing operations in the St. Clair River, Thursday, March 26, 2015. Ice flushing operations help keep brash ice from forming and encourages the flow of ice down river preventing possible flood situations. U.S. Coast Guard video by USCGC Bristol Bay.

The Coast Guard cutter fleet is flushing ice through the Great Lakes river systems to prevent ice jams and facilitate commercial shipping as the shipping season begins and the ice on the Great Lakes dissipates. Ice breaking operations, above freezing-temperatures, and rain has caused plate ice to weaken, creating large and small ice floes through the Great Lakes and its river systems. The Coast Guard posted a video of the Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay performing ice flushing operations on the St. Clair river. You can see the video here.

15 Jan 2015

Great Lakes: US Cargoes Surge on Milder Weather

Photo courtesy: Lake Carriers Association

With the vast ice fields of December 2013 a distant but still troubling memory, U.S.-flag cargo movement on the Great Lakes this past December rebounded significantly. Shipments totaled 9.6 million tons, an increase of nearly 35 percent compared to a year ago. Every commodity – iron ore, coal, limestone, cement, salt, sand and grain, registered increases ranging from 10 to 209 percent. “The increases recorded this past December dramatically illustrate just how badly the early onset of ice in December 2013 slowed Great Lakes shipping,” said James H.I.

16 May 2014

USCG Concludes its Largest Domestic Icebreaking Operation

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…

09 May 2014

Great Lakes’ Ice Halves Ore Trade in April

Heavy ice formations on the Great Lakes continued to slash iron ore shipments in April. Shipments totaled only 2.7 million tons, a decrease of 52 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings slumped even more – 53.3 percent – when compared to the month’s long-term average. Lake Superior’s ice was so challenging that the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards had to convoy freighters the entire month. In fact, it was not until May 2 that the U.S. Coast Guard allowed vessels to proceed across Lake Superior unescorted. The ice field off Marquette, Michigan, barred lakers from loading at the port until April 13. Another ice-related factor in the decrease was the inability of downbound freighters to transit the Rock Cut, a stretch of the St. Marys River just below the Soo Locks.

10 Apr 2014

Ice Blockade Halves March Lakes Shipping

Ice formations, the likes of which have not been seen in decades, severely limited cargo movement in U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes in March. Shipments of iron ore, coal and cement in “lakers” totaled 980,000 tons, a decrease of 55 percent compared to a year ago. Some of the cargo that was loaded in March was not delivered until April 7 or later. Iron ore cargos totaled 827,000 tons, a decrease of 47 percent compared to a year ago. Most of the ore was loaded at Escanaba, Michigan, or shuttled within Cleveland Harbor.

01 Apr 2014

CG Icebreakers Active as Shipping Picks Up

USCG photo by Levi Read

The U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers are continuing to create pathways for commercial shippers throughout the Great Lakes region including the St. Lawrence Seaway, which connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. The St. Lawrence Seaway officially opened to shipping Monday, while the Welland Canal, which connects lakes Ontario and Erie, opened Friday. Although the Soo Locks officially opened for the season March 25, no commercial ships have passed through…

22 Jan 2014

Great Lakes Coal Trade Down 2.8% in 2013

Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 24.6 million tons in 2013, a decrease of 2.8 percent compared to 2012. Some of the decrease can be attributed to the early onset of winter in December, which lead to a 17-percent decrease in loadings on Lake Superior. Individual cargos were further reduced toward the end of the month when vessels voluntarily lightened their drafts to ease transits through an ice-clogged stretch of the St. Marys River that connects Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes. One 1,000-foot-long vessel experienced a 4,474-ton reduction in payload when its first and last cargos of December were compared. For the year, coal loadings at Lake Superior terminals totaled 15 million tons, a decrease of 62,000 tons compared to 2012.

17 Jan 2014

2013 Great Lakes Iron Ore Trade Down 5.3%

Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes totaled 58.3 million tons in 2013, a decrease of 5.3 percent from 2012. While the trade had been slightly behind 2012’s pace through November, the gap grew significantly when an early and harsh start to winter limited shipments to 5.1 million tons in December, a decrease of 20 percent compared to a year ago. There were weather-related delays at loadings docks and vessels were either slowed by or beset in heavy ice. Shipments from U.S. Great Lakes ports totaled 51.8 million tons in 2013, a decrease of 3.5 percent compared to a year ago. December loadings were again almost 20 below the level of a year ago.

17 Jan 2014

Great Lakes Iron Ore Trade Down 5.3% in 2013

Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes totaled 58.3 million tons in 2013, a decrease of 5.3 percent from 2012. While the trade had been slightly behind 2012’s pace through November, the gap grew significantly when an early and harsh start to winter limited shipments to 5.1 million tons in December, a decrease of 20 percent compared to a year ago. There were weather-related delays at loadings docks and vessels were either slowed by or beset in heavy ice. Shipments from U.S. Great Lakes ports totaled 51.8 million tons in 2013, a decrease of 3.5 percent compared to a year ago. December loadings were again almost 20 below the level of a year ago.

07 Jan 2014

Great Lakes Towing Assists Disabled USCG Vessel

The Great Lakes Towing Company came to the aid of the United States Coast Guard Monday night in the St. Marys River just two miles east of the U.S. Coast Guard Station, Sector Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. The 140-foot Bay-class Icebreaking Tug Katmai Bay (WTGB 101) was dead in the icy waters and required towing assistance to its homeport dock. Around 10:45pm Monday night, The Towing Company Tug Missouri was dispatched to break ice and assist the USCGC Katmai Bay back to its dock two hours later. The Tug Missouri is also homeported in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan to assist vessels through the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers locks and to provide emergency rescue assistance and icebreaking when needed. The locks connect Lake Superior to Lake Huron.

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