Sunday 20 April 2014

Light Icebreaker CCGS MARTHA L. BLACK

Here comes the cavalry!! She's the high endurance multi-task vessel, (a.k.a. light icebreaker), CCGS MARTHA L. BLACK snapped yesterday afternoon by my friend Nathan Attard as the big red machine made her way through Lock 8 and Port Colborne harbour on her way to the Lakehead (a.k.a. Thunder Bay, Ontario). Her speedy arrival will be very much appreciated as ice conditions remain solid and steadfast on Lake Superior, St. Mary's River and the Straits of Mackinac. Icebreakers in both Canadian and US coast guard fleets have performed superbly against a foe that apparently is thicker and far more expansive than any other spring shipping season in the last 20 years. While conditions on Lake Erie appears to be improving (though the CCGS DES GROSEILLIERS was required to assist the PETER R. CRESSWELL ( deliver salt to Buffalo yesterday), transiting up above and beyond Lake Huron has been frustratingly slow going and only completed with one or more icebreakers to assist. Just today, a convoy of six lakers commenced their sluggish journey to western Lake Superior while being escorted with the heavy icebreakers CCGS RADISSON and USCGC MACKINAW which hours earlier helped escort the last of a downbound convoy to the Soo Locks. As this convoy leaves, another grouping is assembled and waits for their turn to discharge or load needed cargo at ports along the north shore of Lake Superior.  A nice HOT SPELL would definitely be welcomed right about now. c);-b

Meanwhile, yesterday I was checking out 'My Fleet' on and saw that the MARTHA L. BLACK was transiting the Welland Canal and was on her way to Thunder Bay. YES!! So Budda-bing, budda-boom, FB chatting I did do to Nathan who earlier sent me some great snaps of the old self unloader CUYAHOGA at the stone dock across from the Robin Hood Flour mill (in the background there, eh). I said 'Hey, can you snap the BLACK for me?' He says, 'where do they have her?' I say 'beyond Welland near Ramey's Bend' and Nathan says, 'No problem, I'll wait for her at the stone dock' and I said, YESSS!!!!
Nathan not only snapped the BLACK as she passed the stone dock but also as she approached, then entered Lock 8, and from along the West Street wall as she slipped through chunked pack ice beyond Bridge 21. NICE SNAPS NATHAN!!!    

The 272' MARTHA L. BLACK was built in 1986 at Versatile Pacific Shipyard in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her homeport is Quebec City and she is equipped with a helicopter. I recall reading that she worked the St. Lawrence River and Gulf during the winter months and this spring, she mostly was been assigned to ice operations and escort duties on the lower St. Lawrence Seaway between the Snell and St. Lambert Locks. When the medium Arctic-class icebreakers RADISSON and DES GROSEILLIERS entered the Great Lakes earlier this month, the equally hard working but smaller GRIFFON ( was sent down to open Lake Ontario ports like Hamilton, Toronto, Picton and Kingston, and offer vessel assistance along the Seaway with the MARTHA L. BLACK. 

Named after an American-born Yukon Member of Parliament, it totally makes sense for the MARTHA L. BLACK to be selected for this mission. Along with her Canadian and American icebreaking fleetmates, she will continue to work as one just like any good friend or neighbour would. c);-))

No comments:

Post a Comment