Here’s an aerial shot of the 228-foot Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) SAMUEL RISLEY working in partnership with U.S. Coast Guard’s Sault Ste. Marie Sector on icebreaking operations in the St. Mary’s River last weekend. They write:
USCG Sector Sault Ste. Marie is also in high gear kicking off the 2015 Operation Taconite season, as ice continues to build daily across the Great Lakes. US Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers are conducting around the clock icebreaking operations to assist commercial vessel traffic in the connecting waterways of Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron.
Operation Taconite is the largest domestic icebreaking operation in the US. Over water shipping offers the only effective means of transporting the vast amounts of iron ore from the mines at the Head of the Lakes in Minnesota needed to meet the demands of steel mills in Lake Erie and Lake Michigan. Operation Taconite is primarily responsible for ensuring the successful transport of this cargo amid the harsh winter conditions of the northern Great Lakes.
Air Station MH-65s routinely fly ice reconnaissance flights in support of the operation
The photo was taken by the crew of one of the Traverse City Coast Guard Air Station’s Dolphin helicopters. View it background bigtacular and click through for a shot of the USCG Icebreaker Mackinaw working to keep this vital shipping channel open.