Ice cutters clear the way for Great Lakes traffic
his historically cold winter has made it extremely difficult for ships traveling across the
ore than 70 percent of the lakes are covered with ice
and when our waterways freeze
Coast Guard's job to clear the way for commerce.
ce breaking is a way of life for the 17 man crew of the
Cutter Biscayne Bay.
hey have been out on the
Great Lakes since early December and they don't plan on slowing down anytime soon.
ce season just came fast and it hasn't stopped and we don't anticipated stopping until probably the middle to end of
May," Mike Singleton, ice cutter crew member said.
Straits of Mackinaw, then down through Lake Michigan.
hey will be clearing a path through the ice to escort ships
carrying natural resources
hich can prove to be a difficult task.
ill have to back the ship up and go as fast as we can and ran the ice move up over the ice and break it and hopefully continue going
," Singleton said.
here are nine cutters constantly ramming through the ice on these lakes.
nd even though these shipping lanes look open for business
within hours they will close back up.
ven though we break the tracks during the day they freeze up overnight
," Tom Przybyla, Bisbayne Bay Captain said.
ough enough the ships can't through so we have to go back and loosen the tracks
aking sure the ships get through is essential to our economy.
Lakes shipping generates more than two billion dollars each year.
nd so far we're off to a slow start
ut they hope their luck will change in the coming weeks
with spring-like weather hopefully on the horizon.