US Coast Guard Battles Ice, Frigid Cold to Keep Shipping Lanes Open

Coast Guard's Bristol Bay is one of four ice cutter ships working around the clock in the Great Lakes.
3:00 | 01/07/14

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Transcript for US Coast Guard Battles Ice, Frigid Cold to Keep Shipping Lanes Open
That's the kind of stuff that we're breaking -- right now. That diocese of one thing. And -- is very difficult night to break -- because when it knits together knits together stronger than it did before. My name is lieutenant commander John Henrik. Currently on Coast Guard cutter Bristol Bay heading down down in the Saint Mary's river system and our our main goal is to facilitate the safe traffic. For commercial vessels a lot of work to do because mother nature never lets up. There's no way can soften the sound -- breaking in the very loud -- Do you get a strong wind. Don't blow the track that you spend so much time building nose blow it out of the channel. And then you're left the brand new slates. Trying to work through stuff like this off on the side. And drink a brand new track. -- that will be escorting his the American America. You -- America -- it was coming through an 1830. -- that's -- -- interest and American mariners 730. Feet long and 730 is not too bad -- smaller than some of our. Thousand voters the biggest. Cargo -- for these lakers are iron ore coal heating oil angering and they pretty much come. And service all the Great -- having to come through the the Soo locks. And heading down either towards lake here in Lake Michigan. Just to get an idea of how close is actually is about eighty yards off on -- -- port side -- left side over here is six Clearwater. There's not a lot of room to work winner here. That's actually come through that that little part that we cut through yesterday and then come back up back. They're like many icebergs because most of that is under water and you'll be going from nine knots and -- come to a dead stop just like that that's how strongly ices. So if it's tough enough to stop -- -- trick aerial -- stop them. And the last thing he wants them barreling down on -- -- trying to clear this. Through traffic Coast Guard cutter Bristol Bay channel one to one of the biggest parts of being in this job is having make that call. And this is one of those things that I wish that the camera can capture is the sensation that you're feeling right now. Did the entire -- -- just shaking as she tries to cut through this tough free throws a nice and you see how quickly guys just closes in on the -- that you just cut. That's constant battle. That we face. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- This is my -- and this is luxury accommodations right here and I say that because I have my own bed and Iraq can I have my own bathroom which we call ahead. Come on in. This is. Seven person -- right now. And and that's embedded that the quarters -- -- kind of tight but this is what we had to work with and you get used to it we have -- -- Galley. We have our food service specialist at this one has learned that actually looks really good and I'm really hunger -- -- and there -- -- -- by the time they get down here they'll be dark trying to go through. I wouldn't feel comfortable trying to work that right now. -- -- -- -- -- -- The plan hot off the presses literally a phone -- came through. The American Mary will be hoping to for the night and we'll do that transit first thing in the morning with a -- that I as and that's sunrise we can -- the transit down the type of person. It's getting a cold it's gonna get -- uncomfortable the ice is gonna freeze but -- -- were built for that's why we're out here.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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