Caution advised during ice breaking

SAULT STE. MARIE – Recreational users of the ice are urged to use caution as ice-breaking operations will begin today in Green Bay to allow a research vessel to conduct tests next week, announced the U.S. Coast Guard sector in Sault Ste. Marie.

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mobile Bay will begin cutting ice north of the Michigan-Wisconsin state line, establishing a track from Rock Island Passage going west to the entrance to Menominee, Mich., stated a news release.

Later in the week, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay and Basic Marine’s tug Erika Kobasic of Escanaba will join the ice-cutting operations.

Fishermen, snowmobilers and other users of the ice are advised to stay away from shipping channels and the charted Lake Carriers Association track lines.

The research vessel, called Sikuliaq, is an American research boat constructed for the National Science Foundation by Marinette Marine Corporation in Marinette, Wis. The vessel will conduct engine trials and ship board systems testing Feb. 17-23 in northern Green Bay and Lake Michigan.

Sikuliaq, which means “young sea ice,” will be operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. The $200 million vessel will make its home in Seward, Alaska. The Sikuliaq replaces the 1966-built vessel Alpha Helix which was retired in 2007.

For more information, contact the Sault Vessel Traffic Service at (906) 635-3232 or by e-mail at SOOTFC@USCG.MIL.