Coast Guard restricts traffic on upper St. Clair River

DETROIT – The U.S. Coast Guard, in consultation with the Canadian Coast Guard, has restricted vessel traffic for 24 hours near southern Lake Huron and the upper St. Clair River due to an ice bridge creating a hazard to navigation.

The restriction began Monday at 1 p.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Mackinaw, Biscayne Bay and Bristol Bay, and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon will conduct ice breaking operations to relieve a severe ice jam above the Blue Water Bridge.

“We are working closely with our Canadian counterparts to ensure the ice keeps flowing down,” said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Merriman, Chief, Waterways Management, Coast Guard Sector Detroit.

Due to the severe ice conditions, the following restrictions apply to vessels transiting the upper St. Clair River:

  • There is a moratorium on all vessel transits between the Blue Water Bridge and the northern edge of the ice bridge in lower Lake Huron.
  • Vessel owners and operators should contact Marine CommunicationsTraffic Service (MCTS) Sarnia with any proposed vessel transits through this area for the next 48 hours as soon as possible.
  • Sector Detroit is tactical commander for the operation and has designated the Mackinaw as the On-Scene Commander (OSC) for the operational period; The OSC has the authority to permit vessels to transit if such transit can be made safely based on ice conditions, winds, currents, vessel horsepower, or any other conditions that the OSC deems relevant.
  • Until further notice, any vessel permitted to transit the area must provide one or more assist tugs of sufficient power to allow the transit to be made safely.
  • If more than one vessel has been cleared to transit the area, the order of transit will be determined by the OSC.

In addition, the Harsens Island Ferry has ceased operations at this time due to the ice.

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