U.S., Canadian Coast Guards meet for annual ice conference in Cleveland

Rear Adm. Joanna Nunan, Commander of the Coast Guard Ninth District, stands with Julie Gascon, Canadian Coast Guard Assistant Commissioner for the Central and Arctic Region, at the Coast Guard Ninth District headquarters in Cleveland. Nunan and Gascon were meeting as part of the 2017 Great Lakes International Icebreaking Meeting. Source: U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards met at the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building in Cleveland November 1-2 to plan for the 2017-18 icebreaking season on the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway transportation system.

The annual Great Lakes International Icebreaking Meeting was held to review the previous ice season, lessons learned and to share the status of forces, new policies and guidance for the upcoming 2017-18 icebreaking season.

The icebreaking season in the Great Lakes is divided into two separate, yet equally challenging, operations conducted via international cooperation and close coordination between U.S. and Canadian crews.

Operation Taconite, planned and run by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, is an icebreaking operation aimed at facilitating the flow of commerce across Lakes Superior and Michigan, the northern half of Lake Huron and the St. Marys River and Straits of Mackinac.

Operation Coal Shovel, coordinated by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit, deals with icebreaking operations in southern Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair and Detroit River systems, as well as Lake Erie.

Critical commodities help sustain industrial production and power generation throughout the Great Lakes region during the winter months through these operations.

Icebreakers also assist with flood mitigation efforts in multiple coastal communities prone to spring flooding due to ice backups.

The mission of Coast Guard domestic ice operations is to provide icebreaking services to assist vessels in need, assist communities in exigent need and facilitate navigation on domestic, ice-covered waterways.

The Coast Guards are committed to keeping critical waterways throughout the Great Lakes open to safe navigation.

Maritime Editorial