Photos: 10 ships are stuck in the ice on Lake Superior

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Ten commercial shipping vessels have been stuck in the ice on Lake Superior since Monday after a sudden change in wind direction blew an ice field into the path of the ships, Northland's NewsCenter reports.

"We have had some difficulties and weather is not cooperating and much of the ice that’s packed into the eastern end of Lake Superior is making it very difficult to move east and west,” Mark Gill, director of vessel traffic services for the U.S. Coast Guard, told Soo Today.

Gill said westerly winds blew loose ice on Lake Superior into Whitefish Bay, trapping the ships.

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The Duluth News Tribune has a photo gallery of the stuck ships. At least one suffered hull damage and had to transfer its cargo, Northland's NewsCenter says.

Two American and one Canadian ice breaker boats have started clearing the 35-mile ice field, and a fourth ice breaker is expected to join in the efforts, Northland's NewsCenter says.

Officials expect to have all the boats moved out by Thursday, reports note.

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This is the second spring in a row where the amount of ice on the Great Lakes is higher than normal and has caused problems for shipping vessels, CBC News says.

“It’s problematic, but nowhere in comparison to what we were dealing with last year,” Gill told Soo Today.

The average ice coverage on the Great Lakes at this time of year is about 19 percent, but on March 25, 57.6 percent of the lakes were covered in ice, CBC reports. Last year at this time 73.5 percent was covered in ice, which severely delayed the commercial shipping season.

This year the shipping season has only been slightly affected by ice, CBC says.

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