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Canadian Coast Guard starts icebreaking ops

Coast Guard icebreaker Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Seasonal search and rescue stations of the Canadian Coast Guard have closed for the Winter but the service’s icebreaking operations are now underway.

Canada’s Coast Guard is working closely with the United States counterparts on Operation Coal Shovel, the ice-breaking activities covering southern Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair and Detroit River system, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The two coast guards will assist in opening waterway channels to communities that may become ice-bound. The icebreakers will also assist ferries that deliver food, oil, and medical assistance.

Meanwhile, the seasonal stations in Shippagan, New Brunswick, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, and Souris, Prince Edward Island, are closed for the season due to an early presence of ice in the harbours.

The vessels from the seasonal search and rescue stations cannot operate in the ice-covered waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The seasonal stations will resume operations in April.

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The search and rescue stations in Nova Scotia at Bickerton, Clark’s Harbour, Louisburg, Sambro and Westport as well as the station in Saint John, New Brunswick remain operational year round.

The Canadian Coast Guard’s stations are strategically located to provide assistance as quickly as possible in order to minimize loss of life, injury and property damage in the maritime environment at peak times during the year.

For its winter search and rescue operations in the Gulf of St. Lawrence the Canadian Coast Guard uses icebreakers and calls on vessels of opportunity as well as on Department of National Defence aircraft, when necessary.

Canadian Coast Guard Atlantic, 24-hour marine emergency response telephone number 1-800-563-2444. For more information about the Canadian Coast Guard, visit

The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit can also be contacted at 313-568-9560.

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