U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards Clear Ice Jam on St. Clair River

CLEVELAND—The U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard cleared ice jams on the St. Clair River, allowing normal vessel traffic to resume, after a week long effort which concluded March 28, 2010.

“A significant amount of ice was flushed out of the St. Clair River,” said Chief Warrant Officer Mark Stauffer, Aids-to-Navigation Officer at Coast Guard Sector Detroit. “In fact, it is the most ice seen in the river in decades.”

All delayed traffic has cleared the river.

The Coast Guard Cutters Mackinaw, Neah Bay, Bristol Bay and Biscyane Bay and the Canadian Coast Guard Ships Griffon and Same Risley conducted ice breaking operations throughout Sunday to flush the ice between the St. Clair River and southern Lake Huron.

“Once ice was cleared, the Coast Guards facilitated Northbound and Southbound convoys consisting of 20 vessels,” said Cmdr. Joe Snowden, Prevention Department Head at Coast Guard Sector Detroit, “Without the icebreaker’s direct action, vessel movement could have been delayed several weeks.”

The ice-breaking efforts are part of Operation Coal Shovel, which encompasses southern Lake Huron, St. Clair/Detroit River systems and Lakes Erie and Ontario, including the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Operation Coal Shovel is under the command of Coast Guard Sector Detroit.

The Coast Guard works closely with the Canadian Coast Guard and the commercial shipping industry to facilitate safe transit for commerce across an international boarder year-round.

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