Sector Long Island Sound joins Coast Guard icebreaking effort

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

(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) — Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound is currently participating in the winter icebreaking season which officially kicked off on Dec. 15.

During the Coast Guard’s 2015-2016 winter icebreaking season, known as Operation Reliable Energy for Northeast Winters (RENEW), the Coast Guard will conduct icebreaking operations 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 has 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.

Operation RENEW is the Coast Guard's regionwide effort to ensure Northeast communities have the security, supplies, energy, and emergency resources they need throughout the winter.

Coast Guard units throughout the Northeast have been busy preparing for Operation RENEW by conducting training operations and prioritizing efforts. They are also replacing aids to navigation with special aids designed to ride underneath ice floes and remain on location.

“Ensuring the navigability of our waterways to allow petroleum products that fuel our homes and economies is one of the 1st Coast Guard District and Sector Long Island Sound's top priorities,” said Capt. Edward Cubanski, commander of Sector Long Island Sound. “We will continue to meet with other government agencies as well as local maritime stakeholders to ensure we meet our community and industry needs.”

In winter 2014-2015, Northeast icebreaking assets were pushed to their operational limits. Coast Guard ships were engaged in an all-out effort to keep critical waterways open for commerce.

More than 80 percent of the nation’s home heating oil needs are in the northeastern U.S., and 90 percent of that fuel will be delivered, at some point, by barge through Coast Guard Northeast waters.

Some aids to navigation might be off station due to the ice accumulation and floes. Mariners are encouraged to monitor the condition of aids to navigation in their area and report any discrepancies to the Sector Long Island Sound Command Center.

In addition to icebreakers, the Coast Guard Auxiliary conducts daily reconnaissance flights, providing updated information about ice conditions, which is then transmitted and posted to the Coast Guard Homeport site for waterway users.

The Coast Guard ensures critical food and million barrels of petroleum and gas deliveries are made to keep the Northeast’s economy running and homes heated.

Coordinated efforts with maritime industry stakeholders has ensured that the vital waters of Long Island Sound have remained open every year since Operation RENEW was established.

By Professional Mariner Staff