Coast Guard ends Operation Coal Shovel, Operation Taconite continues

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay, homeported in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, assists the tug Anglian Lady and barge Ironmaster through Mud Lake Junction in the St. Marys River March 29, 2018. Mobile Bay worked alongside Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay and Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley to keep the waterway open. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Gould).

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay assists the tug Anglian Lady and barge Ironmaster through Mud Lake Junction in the St. Marys River March 29, 2018.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Gould).

CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard ended Operation Coal Shovel, a domestic icebreaking operation, Monday.

Coal Shovel encompasses ice-breaking in southern Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair / Detroit River system, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers work together to break ice in these waterways as conditions worsen throughout the winter.

Operation Taconite domestic icebreaking operations continue.

Taconite is the largest of the two operations and is the largest domestic icebreaking operation in the U.S. Taconite is primarily responsible for ensuring the successful transport of cargo amid the harsh winter conditions of the northern Great Lakes.

The Coast Guard provides icebreaking assistance in U.S. waters where commercial icebreaking resources are either unavailable or incapable of handling the difficult ice conditions. Under the CAN/US agreement, Taconite may also provide icebreaking in Canadian waters such as Georgian Bay or the port of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Critical waterways in Taconite’s area of responsibility include the Straits of Mackinac, Whitefish Bay, and the St. Marys River. Extreme weather conditions, narrow channels, relatively shallow waters, the Soo Locks, and the large number of vessels transiting the St. Marys River make it a particularly challenging icebreaking environment.

More information on Great Lakes domestic icebreaking operations can be found here.

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