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Coast Guard assumes ice reporting duties

Apr 25, 2014
The International Ice Patrol was founded in 1913 in response to the sinking of Titanic. Since then regular patrols and reporting during ice season have helped ships avoid the icebergs in the North Atlantic. Based in Elizabeth City, N.C., fixed wing Coast Guard aircraft conduct the primary reconnaissance work for the Ice Patrol. Ice reconnaissance flights are made on the average of five days every other week during the ice season. The mainstay of the Ice Patrol flights since 1962 has been the HC-130 long range surveillance aircraft.

The International Ice Patrol was founded in 1913 in response to the sinking of Titanic. Since then regular patrols and reporting during ice season have helped ships avoid the icebergs in the North Atlantic. Based in Elizabeth City, N.C., fixed wing Coast Guard aircraft conduct the primary reconnaissance work for the Ice Patrol. Ice reconnaissance flights are made on the average of five days every other week during the ice season. The mainstay of the Ice Patrol flights since 1962 has been the HC-130 long range surveillance aircraft.

Courtesy USCG

On Jan. 28 the U.S. Coast Guard International Ice Patrol (IIP) assumed the responsibility for issuing daily iceberg warnings from the Canadian Ice Service. The U.S. and Canada will continue their partnership of iceberg reconnaissance in the North Atlantic through aerial survey, radar, and visual observations. The mission of the IIP is to monitor the iceberg danger near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and provide iceberg limit information to the maritime community. The sinking of Titanic in 1912 prompted maritime nations transiting the area to establish an iceberg patrol and since 1913 the U.S. Coast Guard has been tasked with its management.     

Until January 2014 the Canadian Ice Service has been responsible for issuing the once-daily iceberg analysis under the North American Ice Service (NAIS), a collaborative agreement to unify North American ice information and improve service to mariners. The Coast Guard will now be responsible for the iceberg analysis and for broadcasting warnings, which will continue to be available as text bulletins and as a graphical chart by 0000Z, and when changing conditions require a revision. The information is available between Feb. 1 and Aug. 31, when the Coast Guard is actively patrolling the area.

The NAIS Iceberg Bulletin and Iceberg Chart are available to mariners via SafetyNet, NavTex, SITOR, e-mail, and the World Wide Web.

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