Coast Guard crews are ready this week to start the Northeast icebreaking season, as a cold shot of lower temperatures and wind swept the region.
Freezing conditions are anticipated to affect every Northeast port and waterway, according to officials at the Coast Guard First District headquarters in Boston, who said Monday they were starting up the annual Operation Reliable Energy for Northeast Winters (OpRENEW).
With the New England states and New York heavily reliant on home heating oil – more than 85% of U.S. consumption is in the Northeast — the Coast Guard mounts a regional effort to maintain waterways, where 90% of the fuel supplies are delivered by tanker or barge.
Along with icebreaking operations, Coast Guard buoy tender crews are replacing aids to navigation with special ice buoys, designed to ride underneath ice and remain on station.
Last weekend two of those crews visited New York City before the onset of the winter season.
The Thunder Bay, a 140’x37’5”x12’6” Bay-class icebreaking tug, was on its way back to homeport at Rockland, Maine, after completing renovations at the Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay, Md. The Thunder Bay got mechanical and interior upgrades and new paint, all part of service life extension work under the Coast Guard’s In-Service Vessel Sustainment Program (ISVS).
The Juniper, a 225’x46’x13’ seagoing buoy tender and the lead ship of her class, visited the city after maintaining aids to navigation off Long Island, N.Y. She is homeported at Newport, R.I.