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US, Canadian coast guards conduct Spring Breakout operation

• Mar 23, 2018 at 11:00 AM

SAULT STE. MARIE — U.S. Coast Guard cutters are breaking ice in Lake Superior, Bay of Green Bay, Straits of Mackinac and the St. Marys River as part of Spring Breakout in preparation for the seasonal opening of the Soo Locks.

The locks are scheduled to open to commercial vessel traffic Sunday.

The U.S. Coast Guard cutters Mackinaw and Morro Bay and Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley will enter through the locks prior to the official opening.

The Mackinaw will begin laying down tracks along charted shipping routes within Whitefish Bay. The other two vessels will travel west to conduct ice breaking in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Marquette, Michigan.

Coast Guard cutter Alder will break ice in Western Lake Superior.

With more than 50 percent of Lake Superior still covered with ice, the majority of ice-breaking resources will be positioned above the Soo Locks. This leaves the Coast Guard cutters Hollyhock, Neah Bay and Mobile Bay to manage the ice remaining in the lower river, Straits of Mackinac, Bay of Green Bay and Georgian Bay.

The U.S. Coast Guard is committed to keeping critical waterways throughout the Great Lakes open to the safe transport of commercial shipments and works closely with the Canadian Coast Guard to achieve that goal.

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