|The Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw has been in the Twin Ports for a couple weeks for bow thruster repairs at the Fraser Shipyards. She is currently (Friday, December 16, 2011) moored at the DECC (above) but is expected to depart in the next couple days to begin another season of ice breaking on the Great Lakes.|
The US Coast Guard cutter Thunder Bay departed their home port in Rockland, Maine to come to the Great Lakes to assist in any ice breaking operations that may be needed. Bringing an east coast ship into the Great Lakes has been a Coast Guard tradition for some years, and provides them with an additional opportunity to cross train the crews and put the ship into a different environment, although the Thunder Bay is an ice breaking tug and is very good at that job. The 140-foot icebreaking tug was built to break ice; they use a low-pressure-air hull lubrication or bubbler system that forces air and water between the hull and ice. This system improves icebreaking capabilities by reducing resistance against the hull.
They arrived in Cleveland on December 12, 2011. Although currently based in Maine, she is named for the town of Thunder Bay, Michigan, on Lake Huron near Alpena.