Sunday, February 2, 2014

The US Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw WLBB-30

I thought my last ship shots of the season would be the night time picture I took of the Kaye E. Barker that I took three weekends ago.  For the most part, all of the ships have gone into layup and wont be stirring about until the Welland Canal opens in the middle of March.  There are still always a handful of ships moving around on the lakes during the off season but it seems like those never pass this neck of the woods.  Well, last night I was checking AIS and I saw that the Philip R. Clarke would be passing this way.

I believe she loaded coal in Ashtabula and is currently headed to Gary to unload that cargo.  After that, she will be going somewhere for layup, but I'm not sure what that is though.  She was the lead ship of a three ship convoy but sadly, I didn't have the time to stick around for the others.
 Well, technically the US Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw was the lead ship, as she was breaking the ice so that the other ships could get through.   This ship was a followup to another ship of the same name.  But I wont say that she is a direct replacement.
 The Mackinaw is a icebreaker/tug/buoy tender and was built in Marinette, Wisconsin by the Marinette Marine Corporation.  Her keel was laid on February 9, 2004 and she was commissioned on June 10, 2006 (the same day the other Mackinaw was retired).
 She is unique in that she used azimuth thrusters as her main propulsion.  These can be turned in the direction she needs to go, so that she doesn't need to use a rudder.  They give her pretty good maneuverability.
 Normally she is homeported in Cheboygan but has been spending some time around the Lakes.
 She had a incident before she was launched where she struck a seawall in Grand Haven.  Her captain was relieved and it put a 10 foot dent in her side but her commissioning was not delayed.
 You can tour her during the Coast Guard days in Grand Haven.
 I think the other Mackinaw was a better looking ship though.  This one is not bad but it looks like a normal ship hacked a bit.
 Here she is heading  back down the river to perform icebreaking duties for the Algoway and Joyce Van Enkevort.
 Another shot of her.  I tried to get some closeups of her but she was too far out.
And I leave you with one more shot.

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