US, Canadian Coast Guards working to free laker near Ashtabula, Ohio

The motor vessel Arthur M. Anderson is beset in ice near Ashtabula, Ohio, Feb. 19, 2015. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon, a 234-foot multi-mission medium icebreaker, and the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay, a 140-foot ice-breaking tug, are coordinating assists efforts. (Photo courtesy of Canadian Coast Guard)

The motor vessel Arthur M. Anderson is beset in ice near Ashtabula, Ohio, Feb. 19, 2015. . (Photo courtesy of Canadian Coast Guard)

CLEVELAND — The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards are working together to break free the motor vessel Arthur M. Anderson, which is beset in ice near Conneaut Harbor, and turn it around in Lake Erie so it can head to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for its winter layup.

The Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay, a 140-foot ice-breaking tug homeported in Detroit, has been just outside of Ashtabula for several days battling 8 to 10 feet of ice in areas and brash ice up to 5 to 6 feet thick. The progress has been slow in getting into Ashtabula, so the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon has been called to assist. The Griffon is stationed in Prescott, Ontario, and is a 234-foot multi-mission medium icebreaker.

The Arthur M. Anderson is currently outside of Conneaut Harbor awaiting assistance. The Bristol Bay is en route back to Cleveland. The Griffon will join up with the Bristol Bay and they will clear a path into Cleveland. The Bristol Bay will fill up on fuel and will resupply with food. Once a path is cleared into Cleveland, the Griffon will head out to Conneaut Harbor and break free the Anderson.

“The U.S. and Canada have a strong ice-breaking partnership,” said Rear Adm. Fred Midgette, commander Coast Guard 9th District. Both countries coordinate closely to respond to these extreme ice conditions across the Great Lakes. Our goal is to get the commercial traffic moving and keep it moving, so we will keep working to achieve that goal.

After working tirelessly for several days and making slow progress, the crew of the Bristol Bay was running low on food for its crew, so an air crew from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit delivered 100 pounds of food via their rescue basket, Thursday night. The delivery was an opportunity for the air crew and the cutter crew to conduct regular hoist training while delivering needed supplies.

  • ICE FLOW – Ice broken up by wind, sea, swells, currents and tides
  • YOUNG ICE – Cold temperatures cause additional freezing at the bottom and along the sides of ice
  • BRASH ICE – Accumulation of floating ice made up of fragments; the wreckage of other forms of ice
  • PANCAKE ICE – A piece of new ice approximately circular with raised rims

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