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Photos, video: In a convoy, Coast Guard icebreakers arrive in Duluth

Led by the big U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw, the smaller icebreakers Morro Bay (center) and Katmai Bay arrive in succession in Duluth on Monday afternoon, March 24, 2014. The vessels will remain in port until possibly Wednesday when the three will lead at least three lakers from Two Harbors to the Soo Locks. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)2 / 8
The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw passes under the Aerial Lift Bridge on Monday, March 24, 2014. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)3 / 8
Crewmen aboard the Coast Guard icebreaker Morro Bay wave to the crowd in Canal Park on Monday afternoon as the icebreaker moves through the Duluth ship canal. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)4 / 8
The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw leads the Morro Bay (center) and Katmai Bay into Duluth across icy Lake Superior on Monday afternoon. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)5 / 8
Boat lovers snap pictures of the Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw as it moves through the Duluth ship canal on Monday afternoon. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)6 / 8
The Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw makes it way through the ice of eastern Lake Superior off Duluth as anglers watch its progress from their ice shelters Monday afternoon. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)7 / 8
Heavy ice coats the hull of the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Katmai Bay as it motors through the Duluth ship canal on Monday afternoon. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)8 / 8

The U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers Mackinaw, Morro Bay and Katmai Bay arrived in Duluth on Monday afternoon, slicing through the Lake Superior ice and motoring under the Aerial Lift Bridge in a convoy.

The three vessels have been cutting a shipping lane across Lake Superior from Sault Ste. Marie in recent days, and came to Duluth to restock and refuel. After leaving Duluth - perhaps Tuesday, maybe Wednesday - they'll head to Two Harbors, from where they'll escort at least two lakers - the Cason J. Callaway and the Presque Isle - back across the lake to the Soo Locks. The John G. Munson may also join the group.

Several dozen onlookers waved and snapped photos from the sides of the Duluth Ship Canal as the three icebreakers passed by in fairly quick succession. 

The Callaway departed from Duluth into Lake Superior on Saturday afternoon as the first laker to leave the Duluth-Superior Harbor for the new Great Lakes shipping season.

Click on the thumbnail photos at right to open a gallery of the full-size images.

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