U.S. Coast Guard

HOUGHTON, MI--   At the request of local officials the U.S. Coast Guard will conduct ice-breaking operations in the Keweenaw Waterway starting Monday.

The cutter will make its approach from the east and enter at Keweenaw Bay. It will transit west through Portage Lake, ending at the upper entry and exiting into the open waters of Lake Superior.

All recreational users of the Keweenaw Waterway should plan their activities carefully and use caution near the ice.

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI--   The U.S. Coast Guard continues ice-breaking activities this week, in anticipation of the opening of the Soo Locks on Saturday. 

Wednesday morning a cutter will conduct spring breakout operations on the St. Mary’s River near Pipe and Drummond Islands.  It will open the Pipe Island Passage and circumnavigate Drummond Island along the International Boundary Line into the North Channel.

TRAVERSE CITY, MI (AP)--   The U.S. Coast Guard says a helicopter crew from northern Michigan rescued an injured snowmobiler from a remote area of southern Canada. 

The Coast Guard says the rescue took place after Canada's Joint Rescue Coordination Center received a report of the emergency from the Ontario Provincial Police Department and Sault Ste. Marie Ontario Fire Department on Saturday afternoon.

BEAVER ISLAND, MI--   A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter evacuated a man with a life-threatening illness from Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan Saturday morning. 

A helicopter from Air Station Traverse City tried to reach the man early in the morning, but heavy fog, snow, and icing conditions forced it back. Another crew reached the island later that morning under slightly better conditions. The helicopter took the man to Cherry Capital Airport, where an ambulance took him to the hospital.

MILWAUKEE, WI (AP)--   The U.S. Coast Guard says warming temperatures this weekend could pose safety issues on Lake Michigan and frozen inland rivers, streams and ponds.  

The Coast Guard is urging people to use extreme caution on the water and melting ice.

Ice thickness can vary, even in small areas. Water currents around narrow spots, bridges, inlets and outlets can cause thinner ice. The Coast Guard says stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges, slushy areas and darker areas.

MARQUETTE TOWNSHIP, MI--   Two people have drowned in Lake Superior at Little Presque Isle.

The Marquette County Sheriff’s Office says Saturday around 3:10 p.m. two 22-year-old women waded into the water to get to a nearby rock.  One of the women made it, but the other started struggling.  The first woman reentered the water to help her friend but both were swept up by the current.  A 24-year-old male bystander went into the water to help but could not make it back to shore. 

BAY CITY, MI (AP)--   An engineer aboard a commercial ship has been charged with intentionally discharging oil into Lake Huron in 2014. 

The U.S. Coast Guard says two oily sheens were spotted by air, east of Cheboygan and east of Alpena, two years ago. Investigators were tipped by a crew member who worked in the engine room aboard the Victory.

Marquette native Jeffrey Patrick, who was chief engineer on the Victory, is charged with knowingly releasing oily waste. He'll be arraigned Tuesday in Bay City federal court.

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI (AP)--   The U.S. Coast Guard is working on plans on how it will try to free a freighter that ran aground in Whitefish Bay off Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Yaw says the Coast Guard on Sunday was continuing to monitor the safety of the crew of the Roger Blough and to monitor for any environmental problems. Yaw says work is being done to determine the best and safest way to remove the vessel from the reef. He says that could involve unloading some iron ore pellets from the ship.

HARBOR BEACH, MI (AP)--   The U.S. Coast Guard says planned seasonal closings at some of its Great Lakes stations include one in the Lake Huron community of Harbor Beach. 

Coast Guard officials are in Harbor Beach on Friday to discuss the plans with city officials and first responders.

Under the proposal, the Coast Guard says the station will remain staffed with response crews during the summer months and will operate from Port Huron the remainder of the time. The changes could be put into effect as early as fall of 2016.

Danielle Adams

MARQUETTE, MI--   The 2016 shipping season is officially open in Marquette with the arrival of the Buffalo in the Upper Harbor Sunday.  

The freighter took on a load of iron ore. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Soo Locks early Friday morning, signaling the start of the Great Lakes navigation season.  The Roger Blough cleared the Poe Lock around 1:32 a.m.