Three outbound lake freighters were freed Sunday after being stopped by ice overnight, officials reported.
Ensign Michael Torgeson aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alder said the Mesabi Miner, American Spirit and H. Lee White were trapped by ice overnight between Duluth and Two Harbors after leaving the Duluth harbor.
The Alder left Duluth Sunday morning after high winds caused a previously cleared path through the ice to narrow, Torgeson said.
The heavy icebreaker Mackinaw cut the path on Friday, said Jayson Hron, director of communications and marketing for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.
Torgeson said the Alder widened the path and cut a couple of loops around each laker to help free the vessels. The first ship began moving about 1 p.m. Sunday, and the last one was freed before 4 p.m., he said.
With the freighters en route, the Alder was returning to port late Sunday afternoon, Torgeson said.