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Boreal Community Media

Nearly 600 vessels helped as 2019 icebreaking operation comes to an end

Apr 27, 2019 05:46AM ● By Editor

The United States Coast Guard said nearly 600 vessels were helped during their 2019 domestic icebreaking operation.  The Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw.  Photo:  U.S. Coast Guard

From - April 27, 2019

The United States Coast Guard domestic icebreaking operation, also known as Operation TACONITE, has been completed.

The USCG said with the ice throughout the Western Great Lakes nearly melted, icebreaking in support of commercial navigation is no longer required.

According to the Coast Guard, the right U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard vessels assigned to the operation delivered 1,083 hours of icebreaking to the benefit of 590 vessel transits during the 109 days of the 2019 domestic icebreaking season.

155 of these transits required direct icebreaking assistance, said the USCG.

This work also served the needs of eight island communities and fulfilled 605 individual icebreaking service requests. 

Crews said the same icebreaking vessels put forth an additional 2,378 hours of preventative icebreaking to establish and maintain track in the ice-choked waterways of Green Bay, the Straits of Mackinac, the St. Marys River, Georgian Bay and western Lake Superior.

Industry officials estimate more than 11 million tons of dry bulk and liquid cargoes shipped during the 109 days of this operational period, which translates to $414 million of commodities critical to power generation, industrial productivity and public safety, moved during the harsh winter months of the 2019 domestic icebreaking season.

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here