YouTube user 20greatlakes07 recently put together this video of the USCG Icebreaker Mackinaw’s unsuccessful, but valiant, attempt to free the Great Lakes freighter Edgar B. Speer from ice in Lake Michigan.
Stay tuned for information on the Mackinaw’s mighty replacement but in the meantime you can find photos of the now retired icebreaker HERE.
In the official 2004 USCG Coast Guard press release we learn;
The Coast Guard continues to assist the Motor Vessel EDGAR B. SPEER which became stuck on the 18th of January in the West Neebish Channel (locally known as the Rock Cut).
The Coast Guard Cutters MACKINAW, BISCAYNE BAY, and KATMAI BAY have been diligently working to free the thousand foot freighter and her cargo of iron ore.
Once the SPEER became stuck (“beset”) in the ice all other down bound traffic was stopped. Presently there are ten vessels moored or at anchor waiting to transit through West Neebish Channel.
Due to continued ice breaking operations in West Neebish channel all ice users (especially snowmobile enthusiast) are requested to keep clear of the area. The Coast Guard reiterates that this area is very dangerous due to heavy cutter transits and weakened ice conditions. The Coast Guard request all ice enthusiast to keep clear until ice breaking operations cease and the ice strengthens.
Island residences are reminded to contact the Coast Guard if emergency transports (for medical conditions, etc.) are needed. In the event of an emergency the Coast Guard will assess the situation and respond with cutter or helicopter assistance.