U.S. Coast Guard Ice Cutter Damaged, Towed to Duluth

Updated: 03/29/2014 12:25 PM
Created: 03/29/2014 12:19 PM

A U.S. Coast Guard ice cutter working to break up the ice on the Great Lakes was damaged, and has been towed to Duluth.

Even with a warm upcoming for the weekend, there is still several feet of ice on Lake Superior. Ships rely on the ice cutters to break open a path.

"Just from my three years of experience on [the USCGC Cutter] Alder, and just my experience this winter, this has been the worst ice conditions that I've seen," Lt. Kenny Pepper, the captain of the USCGC Morro Bay, tells KSTP sister station WDIO.

The Morro Bay was working on Lake Superior near Thunder Bay when a propeller failed on the 140-foot bay-class cutter. After a more than 24-hour tow, the vessel made its way under the Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth around 6 p.m. Friday.

"We weren't able to maneuver on our own," Pepper said. "So we had another Coast Guard cutter tow us down here and we're going to have some divers come in and check it out and see if we can't affect repairs right here."

Lt. Pepper says they don't know for sure if the thick ice caused the failure. They should find out more when the divers check it out.

Video courtesy of KSTP sister station WDIO.

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