Monday 14 July 2014

Search & Rescue Lifeboat CCGS CAPE MERCY

Winter returns on paper at least, in just 5 months and 1 week on December 21st, or like last year, maybe even sooner. YIKES!! But regardless the big question is, whether weather conditions will return to normal levels of winter harshness or are we all destined to experience another Polar Vortex driven, "WINTER FROM HELL!!"? It sure was a doozy, eh? It also begs you to wonder, was the worst winter in 35 years an 'Act of God' or 'Mother Nature's' doing, or was it a result of man's multiple years of environmental abuse causing one more Global Warming induced 'Extreme Weather Event'. Regardless of who or what is to blame for the delays in winter and spring cargo movement, shipping associations on both sides of the border are already talking about what went wrong and what needs to be done if another "WINTER FROM HELL!!" returns more sooner than later. Good luck with that boys & girls because unless someone at the meeting is psychic or has in their possession a crystal ball, who can predict for certain what the weather will really be like tomorrow, not to mention nearly 6 month from now.
The Great Lakes normal ice breaking resources provided by the American and Canadian coast guards performed admirably but they weren't enough. Fortunately once the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in late March, Canada was able to send in two heavy polar-class icebreakers, the CCGS PIERRE RADISSON (shown at the top and snapped by Ron Beaupre as she passed his place in Mariatown, Ontario) and CCGS DES GROSELLIERS, along with the heavy endurance breaker, CCGS MARTHA J. BLACK (snapped by my friend Nathan Attard in Port Colborne      
With icebergs still floating around in Lakes Superior in June, it maybe easy as usual to 'Blame Canada' for the colder that normal winter temperatures, but perhaps fleet owners may want to reconsider the design of their ships because while many long and lumbering rounded-bow thousand footers sat mired in the spring ice on the lakes and St. Mary's River channel crying "Help Me"!!, it was traditional pilothouse and accommodations forward lakers like the ALGOSTEEL (snapped leaving Welland Canals Lock 3 last summer by my Kanata friend Shaun), that seemed to motor through the brash with minimal ice breaking assistance. Go figure c):-o
Though perhaps arriving later than usual, summer has definitely returned and whether weather conditions or some mechanical issue causes commercial and private-user boaters to cry "HELP", first responders maybe Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue lifeboats like CCGS CAPE MERCY which I snapped last fall in Cobourg, Ontario on the north shore of Lake Ontario. The 48' MERCY which was built in 2001 at Metal Craft Marine of Kingston, Ontario and is one of 36 self-righting motor lifeboats that have entered service since 1997. Staffed with a crew of four including two rescue specialist, the Cape-class motor lifeboats have a range of 100 nautical miles and can reach a top speed of 25 knots. Based on a US Coast Guard design, there are 10 Cape-class boats on the Great Lakes and all stationed along Ontario's shorelines in Thunder Bay, Tobermory, Goderich,  Sarnia, Amhearstburg, Port Dover, Port Weller, Burlington, Cobourg, and Kingston. Regardless of the marine distress, the coast guard's motor lifeboats like the CAPE MERCY and local volunteer auxiliaries offers a fast and professional search & rescue service. For proof, check out this youtube link: Cool eh!! c);-b

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