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Originally published Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 2:28 PM

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Coast Guard frees 2 Mich. vessels from icy waters

The U.S. Coast Guard has freed two ships trapped by ice in the Straits of Mackinac between Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas.

The Associated Press

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SAINT IGNACE, Mich. —

The U.S. Coast Guard has freed two ships trapped by ice in the Straits of Mackinac between Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas.

Authorities say a 678-foot bulk carrier named the Manistee and its 18 crew members were encountered ice Saturday morning west of the Mackinac Bridge.

Crew members on the Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay freed the Manistee and escorted the vessel into Lake Huron.

The Biscayne Bay also freed the 90-foot ferry, Huron, with 68 people aboard from ice between Saint Ignace and Mackinac Island Friday evening. The cutter later escorted the Huron back to Saint Ignace.

The cutter and its crew have broken ice throughout Lake Superior and Lake Michigan since December as part of Operation Taconite, the Coast Guard's largest domestic ice-breaking operation.

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