Operation Taconite Seeks to Keep Lake Superior and the Port of Thunder Bay Going

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STANDALONE PHOTO -- The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder breaks ice near a windsled Wednesday, April 3, 2013 near the harbor in Bayfield, Wis. on Lake Superior. The Madeline Island ferry plans to resume running on Friday. Most traffic across Lake Superior between Bayfield and Madeline Island is either via the ferry or, in the depths of winter, the ice road. But when the ice is either breaking up or settling into its winter thickness, people can get across only by the wind sled - an enclosed boat-hulled craft with huge fans on the back that push the vehicle across the shifting ice.. The wind sleds are usually in action for 10 to 14 days at the beginning of winter and about a week in the spring, though the duration varies each year. MARK HOFFMAN/MHOFFMAN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM
STANDALONE PHOTO -- The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder breaks ice near a windsled Wednesday, April 3, 2013 near the harbor in Bayfield, Wis. on Lake Superior. The Madeline Island ferry plans to resume running on Friday. Most traffic across Lake Superior between Bayfield and Madeline Island is either via the ferry or, in the depths of winter, the ice road. But when the ice is either breaking up or settling into its winter thickness, people can get across only by the wind sled - an enclosed boat-hulled craft with huge fans on the back that push the vehicle across the shifting ice.. The wind sleds are usually in action for 10 to 14 days at the beginning of winter and about a week in the spring, though the duration varies each year. MARK HOFFMAN/MHOFFMAN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM

Thunder Bay – Keeping the Port of Thunder Bay open until the official close of navigation for the season is the task of the United States Coast Guard Biscayne Bay. The United States Coast Guard ice breaker has been sent to western Lake Superior as a part of Operation Taconite to work to impede ice growth that would hamper commercial navigation.

The Biscayne Bay will will be breaking ice in the twin ports of Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin, as well as the Port of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Additional ice breakers will join the operation as ice expands on the Great Lakes.

This morning in Thunder Bay at 07:00 the Manitoulin is headed to the Port, and at the time of this report is near Sibley Peninsula.

You can see which ships are in the area online on NNL Ships in Port.

The shipping season runs longer and this year the Port of Thunder Bay has seen massive volumes of grain shipped from the Canadian prairies to the world via Thunder Bay.

Operation Taconite is the United States Coast Guard’s largest domestic ice-breaking operation.

The operation includes Lake Superior, the St. Mary’s River, the Straits of Mackinac, Georgian Bay and all of Lake Michigan.

The Coast Guard recommends all recreational ice users plan their activities carefully, dress appropriately, use caution on the ice and stay away from shipping channels.