News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Great Lakes desperate for another icebreaker, deeply grateful to US and Canada Coast Guard assistance, but can't keep shipping lanes open with only one icebreaker, $700 million and 4000 jobs lost in 2014 due to lack of needed icebreaking. In 2009 congress declined request for second Great Lakes icebreaker, said not needed-Ohio Standard

1/26/15, "Great Lakes carrier association asks US Congress for additional ice-breaker," ohiostandard.com, Great Lakes. Michigan

"A brutal winter that slowed the 2014 shipping season on the Great Lakes in Michigan has prompted one organisation to ask Congress for another heavy icebreaker.

The Lake Carriers' Association said a second vessel needs to be built to keep shipping lanes open on the lakes during harsh winter conditions
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The association has requested another ice breaker similar to the Marinette Marine Corp.-built US Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw.

"I want to stress that Lake Carriers' Association and our members' customers deeply appreciate the efforts of the US and Canadian Coast Guards this past ice season," James H.I. Weakley, president of the association, said in a news release. 

However, he said that ice conditions made it clear that the abilities of both fleets needed to be re-assessed.

Thick ice that lasted into the late winter last year slowed commerce on the lakes and cost about US $700-million in lost business revenue and almost 4,000 jobs, according to the association. 

Another heavy icebreaker could help keep shipping lanes open, it says, but a Coast Guard spokesman said last year was an anomaly for ice on the lakes.

Lieutenant Davey Connor, a public affairs officer based in Cleveland, said that most winters the Coast Guard has what it needs to get the job done.

"With the combination of our fleet and the Canadian Coast Guard, who we work seamlessly with...we're confident we're resourced for 95% of winter-weather years," he told the media. "Last year was a 30-year exception, and we still kept the shipping lanes open as needed."

The US Coast Guard operates nine ice-capable ships on the lakes. Eight will operate this winter as one of the vessels is undergoing a refit as part of a mutliyear program to extend the service life of six 140-foot icebreaking tugs.

Mackinaw was delivered to the US Coast Guard in 2006, replacing a 1940s-vintage cutter that fulfilled the same duties and carried the same name.

Legislation seeking US $153-million for a second Great Lakes icebreaker was introduced in 2009, but didn't materialise due to concerns that the vessel would surplus to requirements." image above from Ohio Standard

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1/27/15, "Global Warming so Bad Great Lakes need another Icebreaker," IBD Analysis, Kerry Jackson

"We haven't forgotten that in the beginning it was all about excessive heat, melting ice and rising sea levels. That's why we can't pass up this story about carriers asking for an additional icebreaker in the Great Lakes. Seems they want "to keep shipping lanes open on the lakes during harsh winter conditions."

This wasn't how it was predicted. The National Wildlife Federation warned that "potential global warming impacts" on the Great Lakes "include reduced water levels (due in particular to decreased winter ice cover allowing more evaporation)," and two years ago Climate Progress fretted that "last year, only 5% of the lakes froze over — compared to 1979 when ice coverage was as much as 94%.""...



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