Operation Taconite beginsFriday, December 06, 2013 by: SooToday.com Staff
UNITED STATES COAST GUARD
Coast Guard begins icebreaking operations in the western Great Lakes
SAULT SAINTE MARIE, MI. – U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie commenced Operation Taconite this afternoon in response to developing ice conditions in the commercial ports of Western Lake Superior.
Before ice impedes commercial navigation, an icebreaker was assigned to the region.
Operation Taconite is the Coast Guard’s largest domestic icebreaking operation, encompassing Lake Superior, St. Mary’s River, the Straits of Mackinac and Lake Michigan.
As a result of the Operation certain waterways may close once due consideration is given to the protection of the marine environment, waterway improvements, aids to navigation, the need for cross channel traffic (e.g. ferries), the availability of icebreakers, and the safety of the island residents; who in the course of their daily business use naturally formed ice bridges for transportation to and from the mainland.
Initially, only one Coast Guard ice breaker will be assigned to Operation Taconite.
USCGC Katmai Bay will provide ice breaking services. In the coming days and weeks as ice growth continues on the Great Lakes additional Coast Guard ice breakers will join the operation.
Currently there are no channel closures.
However the implementation of Operation Taconite does place additional measures on commercial shipping plying the Western Lakes, St. Marys River, and the Straits of Mackinac.
These measures include restricting tanker transits to daylight only in the presence of ice, reducing speeds by 2 miles per hour in various locations, and requiring additional voice and position reporting points throughout the operation’s area of responsibility.
The Coast Guard would like to advise all recreational ice users there are currently no channel closures, and to plan their activities carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels. Recreational users and island residents should stay tuned to local media resources for the status of waterway closures.
Further inquiries can be made by phone to Mr. Mark Gill (email@example.com) or to Vessel Traffic Service St. Marys River at (906) 635-3232.