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News From 91.3 KUWS
Twin Ports ice breaker: Worst he's ever seen
Ice breakers continue to battle the conditions and keep vessels moving in and out of the Duluth-Superior harbor. Brad Phenow reports.
The end of the shipping season is in sight, the Soo Locks close on January 15. But until then Mike Ojard will continue to rise when called upon. Ojard’s 100-foot long, 2500-horsepower tug boat is responsible for keeping a path for the vessels. He says the ice that they have broken up previously just keeps building.
“One ice chunk touches another and it just keeps building down, some areas it’s as much as five feet thick. It’s the toughest winter that I’ve seen in my 68 years.”
He can’t help but laugh when asked if he is excited for the season to be over.
“Yea I think everybody is! Some companies, American Steamship has pulled the plug. They’re not moving any vessels; they’ve laid up vessels in Duluth already.”
He says several of the tugs have suffered from break downs.
“But they’ve still been able to maintain service, for however long I don’t know. The same thing holds true with us. These tugs they’re tough, tough boats, but in general they aren’t meant to take the abuse we’ve put them through this year.”
He says he has found a couple helpful items to keep him going.
“Ibuprofen [and coffee I’d assume] Oh lots of coffee, you got to drink about three or four cups of coffee before you open your eyes in the morning.”
He says it has been a long year battling the cold snaps.
“It’s a tough winter; we’ve been breaking ice since the fifth of November. It’s not over, not over yet.”
He says to finish up the season he asks one thing.
“Make sure the public keeps us in mind, and in their prayers.”
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