U.S. Coast Guard begins breaking ice along coast
As temperatures get colder, Jamestowners may see some unfamiliar ships in the bay. That’s because the Coast Guard’s winter icebreaking season has officially kicked off in the Northeast, and will run through March.
During the annual effort, known as Operation Reliable Energy for Northeast Winters, the Coast Guard will conduct icebreaking operations along the Atlantic coast. Operation RENEW helps keep ports and waterways open, and also prevents the deaths of overboard victims out to sea.
According to the Coast Guard, 75 percent of all heating oil used in the country is imported through New England, New York and New Jersey. Nearly all of that is delivered by barges through Coast Guard-protected ports.
To conduct Operation RENEW, Coast Guard crews will use three 140-foot seagoing icebreaking tugs, eight 65-foot small harbor tugs, and two 225-foot Juniper Class buoy tenders.
During the 2012-13 season, Coast Guard crews logged 1,603 hours of domestic icebreaking, answered 17 requests for help and assisted 37 vessels in need. Coast Guard Auxiliary crews also flew 37 reconnaissance flights in search of frozen waterways. As a result of these efforts, no waterways were closed and no restrictions were implemented during that icebreaking season.
The Coast Guard facilitated the movement of an estimated 7.96 million barrels of petroleum products and an estimated 297,000 tons of dry bulk products in the Northeast, which totaled near $2 billion.