Maine Coast Guard Cutter to deploy to Great Lakes

Coast Guard District 1 NewsBOSTON — The Maine-based Coast Guard Cutter Thunder Bay is scheduled to deploy to the Great Lakes Nov. 29, 2011, to assist in the service’s icebreaking mission there throughout the winter months.

The crew of the Thunder Bay, a 140-foot icebreaking tug, will arrive in the Great Lakes region a few weeks after it departs its homeport of Rockland, Maine.

While there, the crew will assist other Coast Guard icebreakers during Operations Coal Shovel and Taconite, the largest domestic ice breaking operations in the country. The Coast Guard conducts domestic ice breaking to aid in search and rescue and other emergency operations, mitigate flooding, and to meet the reasonable demands of commerce.

Icebreaking on the Great Lakes is vital to keeping shipping lanes open. Large quantities of steel, coal, heating oil and grain ships throughout the region, and Coast Guard ice breaking services enable these shippers to transport an average of $2 billion worth of cargo each year.

Coast Guard cutters from the northeastern U.S. have successfully assisted with icebreaking in the Great Lakes for the past three winters – the cutters Morro Bay, homeported in New London, Conn., during the 2010-2011 winter; Penobscot Bay, homeported in Bayonne, N.J., during the 2009-10 winter; and Thunder Bay during the winter of 2008-09.

While the crew of the Thunder Bay is deployed to the Great Lakes, other cutter crews will cover their traditional area of responsibility when the need for icebreaking there arises.

Readers can follow the Thunder Bay at its Official Facebook Page.

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