The Coast Guard is continuing ice breaking operations as colder temperatures and winter weather impact waterways throughout the Northeast.
The ice breaking operations are in support of Operation Reliable Energy for Northeast Winters (OPRENEW), the Coast Guard’s region-wide effort to ensure communities across the Northeast from New York to Maine have the security, supplies, energy and emergency resources they need throughout the winter.
“There is a lot of training, preparation and maintenance that goes on throughout the year to ensure we are ready to answer the call during what we call ‘ice season'”, said Chief Petty Officer Shae Currington, officer in charge of Coast Guard Cutter Shackle. “The crew takes pride in providing responsive action to the members of our communities, whether it be a fishing vessel beset by ice or flood relief along the Penobscot River.”
The Coast Guard’s aging but capable fleet of 140-foot ice breakers and 65-foot ice-breaking tugs, along with Aids to Navigation Teams, are working to keep waterways clear of ice and are maintaining navigational aids to ensure the safe passage of cargo ships, passenger ferries and commercial fishing vessels.
More than 85 percent of all home heating oil used in the U.S. is consumed in the Northeast, and 90 percent of that is delivered by ship on a Coast Guard-maintained waterway. In addition to ensuring communities get the supplies they need, the Coast Guard also prioritizes search and rescue, ice rescue and assisting vessels beset by ice. On average, the Coast Guard assists over 100 vessels that become stuck in ice yearly.
Coast Guard ice breakers are operating from New York City to Maine, breaking ice on major waterways including the Hudson River, the Connecticut River, the Merrimack River, and the Penobscot River.