Several lake freighters were stuck in the ice on the Great Lakes this week, following the severe cold spell.
The U.S. Coast Guard ice-breaking tugs freed three big ships in western Lake Erie, and another ship had to be helped in the St. Clair River.
The Coast Guard said in a statement that Lake Erie is the shallowest Great Lake, so it‘s the quickest to freeze, and ice has formed rapidly with the recent cold weather.
The U.S. Coast Guard and its Canadian counterpart are responsible for keeping the waterways clear for freights and operations are coordinated out of the Coast Guard Sector Detroit.
Currently, ice coverage on Lake Erie is over 20 per cent, well above the seasonal norm of 5% for this time of year, according the the U.S. Coast Guard.
The shipping season officially ends on Jan. 15, and the Coast Guard said it will continue to break ice to ensure waterways stay clear for cargo ships.