Cutter Morro Bay to depart Cleveland for home after spending winter in the Great Lakes

CLEVELAND -- Rear Adm. Michael Parks, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, presents the Great Lakes Sailor certificate to Lt. Cmdr. Doug Wyatt, commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay, March 21, 2011. The crew of the Morro Bay, homeported in New London, Conn., spent the winter in the Great Lakes augmenting the Ninth District icebreaker fleet. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class George Degener).

Rear Adm. Michael Parks presents the Great Lakes Sailor certificate to Lt. Cmdr. Doug Wyatt, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay. Photo by Petty Officer George Degener

CLEVELAND – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay is scheduled to depart here Friday after spending the winter breaking ice on the Great Lakes.

Rear Adm. Michael Parks, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, recently thanked the crew for their support to the Great Lakes ice breaking mission.

The 140-foot ice breaking tug and crew, whose original homeport is New London, Conn., was temporarily assigned to the Great Lakes region to augment the eight other Great Lakes-based ice breaking cutters with Operations Coal Shovel and Taconite, the Coast Guard’s two major ice breaking operations here. Operation Coal Shovel officially ended Thursday, while Operation Taconite continues in the northern Great Lakes.

Morro Bay arrived in the Great Lakes on Dec. 10, 2010. The crew spent more than 800 hours breaking Great Lakes ice and assisted 81 commercial vessels, 30 of which were beset in heavy ice. Overall, their efforts facilitated the safe transit of nearly one million tons of cargo valued at more than $100 million.

During the four-month deployment, Morro Bay’s crew conducted operations in all five Great Lakes, traveling approximately 2,468 nautical miles.

The crew will begin their transit to New London this weekend.

Operation Coal Shovel encompasses southern Lake Huron, St. Clair/Detroit River systems and Lakes Erie and Ontario, including the St. Lawrence Seaway. Operation Taconite encompasses Lake Superior, the St. Marys River, the Straits of Mackinac, Lake Michigan and northern Lake Huron. Operations Coal Shovel and Taconite are based on the statutory authorities of 14 USC 2, 14 USC 88 and 14 USC 141. Both direct ice breaking resources to the highest priority areas and missions based on the most current ice conditions.

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