DULUTH, MN -- Despite a mild winter, the U.S. Coast Guard is still needed to break-up the ice in the Twin Ports harbor.
Lake Superior's harbor may look clear of ice, but that doesn't mean the U.S. Coast Guard can rest easy this season.
Operation Taconite was underway Tuesday with the USS Alder venturing out in the harbor to cut through any remaining ice. Coast Guard officials say this annual ice-breaking expedition is essential for ships to eventually enter and leave the harbor.
According to the Operation Officer, LTJG. Caleb Metroka, "Over the winter, you get the lake freezing over, and the ice gets thick. Most ships can't operate in the thick ice. So what we do is go through, break the ice, create paths for the ships so they can get in and out of the harbor."
The Alder will continue cutting ice Wednesday before shipping season begins in the next couple weeks.