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US Coast Guard ends ice breaking operations on the Great Lakes

With the ice throughout the Western Great Lakes nearly melted, ice breaking in support of commercial navigation is no longer required.
FILE. U.S. Coast Guard Cutter BISCAYNE BAY in a photo from 2008. Operation Taconite is the...
FILE. U.S. Coast Guard Cutter BISCAYNE BAY in a photo from 2008. Operation Taconite is the Coast Guard’s largest domestic icebreaking operation.(USCG)
Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 1:45 PM EDT
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SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (WLUC) - Commander, Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie concluded its domestic ice breaking operation, also known as Operation Taconite.

With the ice throughout the Western Great Lakes nearly melted, ice breaking in support of commercial navigation is no longer required.

In the 95 days (21 Dec-26 Mar) of the 2021 Domestic Icebreaking Season, the eight ice breaking assets assigned to Op. Taconite combined to deliver 468 hours of icebreaking assistance to the benefit of 109 vessel transits; 19 of these movements (5 US 14 CA) required direct ice breaking assistance to ensure commercial vessel safety.

These same ice breaking assets put forth an additional 1,600 hours of preventative icebreaking support to establish and maintain tracks in the ice hampered waterways of western Lake Superior, the Straits of Mackinac, Green Bay, Georgian Bay, and the St Marys River.

It is estimated more than two million tons of dry bulk cargoes were assisted during the 95 days of 2021 domestic icebreaking season. This translates to roughly $77 million dollars of cargo critical to power generation, industrial productivity and public safety, aided during the period of ice cover.

Further inquiries can be made by phone to Sault Vessel Traffic Service at 906-635-3232 or via email at SOOTFC@USCG.MIL.

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