THUNDER BAY — The Canadian Coast Guard has dispatched its icebreaker Samuel Risley to Thunder Bay to conduct icebreaking operations in the harbour this week or as soon as it proves necessary.
According to a statement issued by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on Thursday, the Risley "may be required to work in the Thunder Bay port on or after Jan. 4...to assist commercial shipping."
Thunder Bay harbourmaster Guy Jarvis expects the ship to arrive by Friday evening.
Smaller US Coast Guard icebreaking cutters have been visiting the port since the end of November to help keep shipping lanes clear.
Jarvis said that there is currently ice within the breakwall but "not too much" outside it, but with five ships still due to come in to load cargo before the shipping season ends, it's good to have the Risley available.
"It all depends on how much it freezes overnight. You've got to look at where the vessels are going. On the Mission River, the Kam River, you get a couple of days of cold weather, yeah, you'll need some icebreaking assistance."
The last ship to leave port before the Soo locks close is expected to do so about Jan.11.
Two vessels will spend the winter in Thunder Bay.
Bulk carriers the Algoma Strongfield and the CSL Niagara will be docked at Keefer Terminal until navigation resumes in the spring.