US, Canadian Coast Guards end ice breaking in North Channel, assist with clearing Harsens Island ferry path

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DETROIT – After three days of concentrated effort, U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers concluded flushing operations and cleared two significant plugs in the St. Clair River as part of Operation Coal Shovel.

The combined efforts of the Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay, Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay and Canadian Coast Guard ship Griffon and Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley to break the St. Clair River, South Channel, Middle Channel and North Channel, relieved near-flood-stage water levels throughout the St. Clair River while reestablishing current and ice flow in the area.

The crew of the Coast Guard Guard Cutter Hollyhock, homeported in Port Huron, Mich., transits Lake St. Clair en route to the western basin of Lake Erie for ice-breaking operations, Jan. 13, 2015. U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard ice breakers, as part of Operations Coal Shovel and Taconite, have been working tirelessly to keep vessel traffic and important economic supplies moving throughout the Great Lakes. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Gould)

The crew of the Coast Guard Guard Cutter Hollyhock, homeported in Port Huron, Mich., transits Lake St. Clair en route to the western basin of Lake Erie for ice-breaking operations. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Gould).

 

Following flushing operations, the Mackinaw remained overnight in the North Channel and by Tuesday afternoon had redirected ice damns caused by the flushing in an effort to clear the local ferry’s path so it may resume normal operation.

Working with maritime industry partners, U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers developed a plan to clear 12 commercial vessels, north and south of the St. Clair River, that were unable to transit the river due to severe ice conditions.

Throughout the remaining winter season, U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers will continue escorting commercial vessels in the St. Clair River and the Great Lakes as weather conditions dictate.

Click the photo for more from the operation.

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