Duluth: Icebreakers from both the American and Canadian sides were in action on Tuesday trying to help release 15 commercial ships that were stuck in ice on Lake Superior.
As many as 10 vessels alone were trapped in the solidified waters around Whitefish Bay in Wisconsin.
One of them, self-unloading bulk carrier the Kaye E Barker (25,345 dwt, built 1952) experienced hull damage and has been forced to transfer cargo. Four of the others were expected to be freed by Wednesday morning. The remaining ones should be back on their way by Thursday, officials estimate.
A sudden change of wind direction blew the ice field into the path of the commercial ships.
The ice field is about 35 miles long, and nearly eight feet thick in places. A force of two US and one Canadian ice cutters were in the area as of Tuesday afternoon, with another Canadian cutter set to join the group on Wednesday.
It’s rare to see this much ice at Whitefish Bay which sits on eastern Lake Superior between Michigan and Ontario. The shipping season on the Lakes officially started late last month