Early ice growth means busy ice­break­ing sea­son for coast guard ves­sels, of­fi­cials say

Northern Pen - - Editorial - BY GLEN WHIFFEN THE TELE­GRAM

The Cana­dian Coast Guard ice­breaker fleet is ex­pect­ing a busy sea­son with the freeze-up of sea ice oc­cur­ring three to four weeks ahead of a nor­mal ice year, of­fi­cials said in St. John’s Tues­day.

Brad Durn­ford, su­per­in­ten­dent of ice op­er­a­tions for the At­lantic Re­gion, said dur­ing a tech­ni­cal brief­ing that wa­ter tem­per­a­tures are lower than nor­mal around the Gulf of St. Lawrence and New­found­land and Labrador, and long-term fore­casts show East­ern Canada hav­ing a chance of a cooler than nor­mal win­ter, which will con­tinue the ice growth.

There’s al­ready sig­nif­i­cant ice growth along the Labrador coast.

Durn­ford said that if you look at trends, the amount of ice this year is look­ing to be above the 30-year av­er­age.

So far this sea­son, he said, ice­break­ers have al­ready been as­sist­ing ves­sels in ice.

“En­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors like warm fronts, storm sys­tem tracks and the jet stream lo­ca­tion can af­fect the amount of ice pro­duced in any given year, which makes it hard to pre­dict the type of year it will be with any cer­tainty,” he told re­porters. “It can change on a dime.”

Dur­ing win­ter, from about mid-Novem­ber to the end of May, ice­break­ing ser­vices are pro­vided on the Labrador Coast, the east coast, the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the St. Lawrence and Sague­nay rivers, and the Great Lakes. Dur­ing the sum­mer months, from about July to Novem­ber, ice­break­ers are de­ployed to the Cana­dian Arc­tic.

Ser­vices pro­vided in­clude route as­sis­tance to ship­ping, har­bour break­outs for com­mer­cial and fish­ing ves­sels, flood con­trol in ar­eas prone to ice jams, north­ern re-sup­ply to re­mote com­mu­ni­ties and Arc­tic sovereignty.

For the 2017-18 ice­break­ing sea­son, Cana­dian Coast Guard ice­break­ers car­ried out 113 es­corts, three track main­te­nance, 10 free­ing of be­set ves­sels, 10 com­mer­cial har­bour break­outs, eight ice re­con­nais­sance with ves­sel, one case of pro­vid­ing ice in­for­ma­tion to client ves­sels and 45 fish­ing har­bour break­outs.

In the mean­time, the Cap­tain Molly Kool is the first of three medium ice­break­ers to ar­rive from Nor­way, ac­quired by the Cana­dian Coast. The other two ves­sels will come on stream over the next two years.

The new ves­sels will al­low the level of ice­break­ing ser­vices to be main­tained while the other ships in the fleet un­dergo re­fit, main­te­nance and ves­sel life ex­ten­sion work. The Cap­tain Molly Kool is un­der­go­ing re­fit and con­ver­sion work at Chantier Davie in Lévis, Que., to en­sure it com­plies with Cana­dian reg­u­la­tory and Coast Guard op­er­a­tional stan­dards be­fore en­ter­ing the fleet.

A Cana­dian Coast Guard news re­lease states the name­sake of the ice­breaker, Cap­tain Myr­tle (Molly) Kool, was the first woman in North Amer­ica to be­come a mas­ter mariner. Myr­tle Kool, known by ev­ery­one as Molly, was born in 1916 in Alma, N.B. In 1937, she was the first woman in North Amer­ica to be­come a li­censed ship cap­tain, and in 1939 was awarded her coastal mas­ter’s cer­tifi­cate.

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