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News From 91.3 KUWS
Ice breakers move to help ships stuck in thick ice
Some ships are stuck, another one shutdown for the winter, and then thereís the little tug that could. Mike Simonson reports that ice is clogging parts of the upper Great Lakes.
The Coast Guard at Sault St. Marie in eastern Lake Superior was busy yesterday. Dispatcher Mark Dobson couldnít talk much. He was on the radio with two ice breakers trying to free vessels.
ďEverywhere, all the time now. Itís that point in the year that everythingís freezing in. So itís just a matter of wait and see who gets stuck and go get Ďem. Thatís the kind of game weíre playing.Ē
Another Coast Guard dispatcher at the Soo says they freed three ships Monday. He called this ice significantly worse than other years.
The Madeline Island Ferry shut down last Friday. Considering they didnít lay-off at all in 2012, Ferry Vice-President Robin Trinco-Russell says itís an early shutdown. She says ice on the two miles of Lake Superior to Bayfield is up to a foot thick. Conditions are severe.
ďYou can barely see the mainland. Right now I canít see the mainland. Itís blowing snow. It looks like the Arctic. Feels like the Arctic.Ē
Duluth-Superior tugboat Captain Mike Ojaard says the ice is the worst heís seen and keeps getting thicker.
ďOne ice chunk touches another and it just keeps building down, some areas itís as much as five feet thick. Itís the toughest winter that Iíve seen in my 68 years.Ē
Ojaard says itís been a long, hard couple of months.
ďItís a tough winter; weíve been breaking ice since the fifth of November. Itís not over, not over yet. Make sure the public keeps us in mind, and in their prayers.Ē
The Soo Locks close January 15, so Ojaard and the Coast Guard still have a couple more weeks of breaking ice.
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