Coast Guard Cutter Thunder Bay crew returns home after 4 months in Great Lakes

1st Coast Guard District NewsROCKLAND, Maine — The crew of the 140-foot ice breaking tug Coast Guard Cutter Thunder Bay returned home to Rockland Tuesday after breaking ice for nearly four months in the Great Lakes.

The Thunder Bay was temporarily assigned in the Great Lakes to augment the eight other Great Lakes-based icebreakers during Operation Taconite, a major Great Lakes ice-breaking operation.

The crew of the CGC Thunder Bay arrived in Cleveland on Dec. 12, 2011, after transiting more than 2,000 miles and spent the ice-breaking season operating in the northern Great Lakes due to diminished ice conditions in the southern regions.

The crew participated alongside other Coast Guard icebreakers in operations that facilitated the safe navigation of vessels and cleared paths for more than 67 commercial freighters. The cutter spent more than 175 hours breaking Great Lakes ice, keeping tracks and channels open for navigation. The crew spent 11 hours in direct support of five vessels beset by ice. Overall, their efforts contributed to the safe transit of more than 160,000 tons of cargo, valued at more than $5 million.

“The crew of the Thunder Bay demonstrated exceptional seamanship and ship handling skills and immediately made significant contributions to the mission,” said Rear Adm. Daniel Neptun, commander of the 1st Coast Guard District. “Their efforts ensured the critical commercial shipping routes of the Great Lakes remained open for delivery of economically vital cargo.”

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