gCaptain is reporting that the severe conditions in the Great Lakes over the last two winters and the resulting loss of iron production, have prompted support for another Great Lakes icebreaker at least as large as Mackinaw.
“This is the second year in a row a brutal winter has slowed early season shipments of iron ore and other cargos on the Lakes. In April 2014, shipments of iron ore totaled just 2.7 million tons, a staggering 53.3 percent below the month’s long-term average.
“As a result, Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) included a provision in the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1987) approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that directs the U.S. Coast Guard to design and build a new, multi-mission icebreaker to enhance its capabilities on the Great Lakes.”
This could be an opportunity not only to build another icebreaker for the Great Lakes but also to design the three Medium Icebreakers the High Latitude Study has shown the Coast Guard needs.
A ship along the lines of Russia’s new oblique icebreaker would be particularly useful in the Great Lakes in that it would open a channel wider than the beam of the icebreaker itself.