Operation RENEW working through worst icebreaking season in a decade

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The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(NEW YORK) — Coast Guard crews continue to support Operation Reliable Energy for Northeast Winters (OP RENEW) during what has become the worst ice season on record in the past decade. OP RENEW is the Coast Guard’s regionwide effort to ensure Northeast communities have the security, supplies and emergency resources they need throughout the winter.

"Ice conditions encountered thus far in 2015 are more extensive and severe than that experienced during the 2014 winter, which was the most severe we encountered in the Northeast since 2004 when the Cape Cod Canal and Hog Island Channel froze over," said Matthew Stuck, First Coast Guard District Waterways manager.

Icebreaking operations are conducted for several reasons:

• To facilitate security operations with ports, waterways and coastal security missions.
• To help prevent loss of life on the water and ashore when impacted by ice.
• To provide urgent response to vessels that are directly impacted by ice.
• To support communities that have need for fuel, food and medical supplies.
• To assist in preventing or easing flood conditions.
* To meet the reasonable demands of commerce to facilitate navigation on frozen, navigable waterways.

Seventy-five percent of all heating oil used in the country is transported through New England, New York and New Jersey. Ninety percent of that is delivered by barges through Coast Guard-protected ports. An average of 300 vessels transit the Hudson River during the winter months, carrying over 10 million barrels of petroleum products to the Northeast communities.

To conduct Operation RENEW, Coast Guard crews are using U.S. Coast Guard aircraft, 140-foot seagoing icebreaking tugs, 65-foot small harbor tugs, 225-foot Juniper-class buoy tenders and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary aircraft.

In 2014, the Coast Guard facilitated the movement of an estimated 7.96 million barrels of petroleum products and an estimated 297,000 tons of dry bulk products in the Northeast, which totaled near $2 billion.

Coast Guard missions and capabilities are established to support investment security, innovation and resilience, which are the foundations of a growing economy. The Coast Guard provides a safe, efficient, and navigable waterway system that supports domestic commerce, international trade and national defense.

By Professional Mariner Staff