Shipping season sets sail in Twin Ports with first departure

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The 2013 shipping season on Lake Superior is officially under way with the first departure of the season in the Twin Ports, WDIO reports. The Mesabi Miner moved through the icy water under the Aerial Lift Bridge Wednesday morning.

The season's first 1,000-foot laker is hauling a load of coal to Marquette, Mich. The vessel will return to Duluth this weekend to load iron ore pellets bound for the Indiana Harbor.

Icebreakers were busy plowing through thick ice in the Duluth-Superior port last weekend to prepare for the upcoming shipping season.

The Soo Locks are slated to officially open on March 25.

However, barge traffic on the Mississippi River is still waiting for Mother Nature to crank up the heat. The Winona Daily News says there's more than a foot of ice on some parts of Lake Pepin delaying the start of the region's shipping season.

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First departure from Twin Ports marks the start of the 2012 shipping season

The Mesabi Miner passed through the Duluth piers Friday. The Duluth News Tribune reports it was loaded with coal bound for Presque Isle, Michigan.