Canadian Coast Guard kicks off icebreaking season

The Canadian Coast Guard is beginning its Great Lakes icebreaking season with work on Lake Huron this week.

Icebreaking operations are slated to take place Tuesday on Lake Huron near Midland, Ontario, and Thursday near Fisher Harbour, Ontario, to aid ship navigation.

This year, the Canadian icebreakers CCGS Griffon and CCGS Samuel Risley will work on the Great Lakes in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard District 9, according to a news release issued Monday. Icebreaking is conducted to provide assistance to the shipping industry and to prevent the formation of ice jams and flooding.

"Year after year, the Canadian Coast Guard provides its essential icebreaking services; a direct contributor to Canada’s economy and maritime commerce. Along with the United States Coast Guard, our icebreaking services support and allow both economies to continue to grow, ensuring maritime shipping on the Great Lakes can be done efficiently and safely. The Canadian Coast Guard is proud to support industry and communities, and to play an integral role in safety across the Great Lakes," Mario Pelletier, Commissioner, Canadian Coast Guard, said in a news release.

Shipping continues through the winter on Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and several rivers connecting to the Great Lakes. Last year, the Goast Guards directly assisted 156 ship transits on the Great Lakes.

Lake Superior’s shipping season ends Jan. 15 with the seasonal closure of the Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie.