Harsh winter weather is keeping the Coast Guard busy near New York City

US Coast Guard Cutter Penobscot Bay Hudson River ice icebreaker tug

KINGSTON, N.Y. (AP) — Coast Guard crews have been busy freeing up tugs stuck in the icy Hudson River.

The Coast Guard used an ice-breaking vessel to free a tug Tuesday morning that had been stuck in the ice overnight near Kingston. The ice-breaking tug freed another vessel Sunday night near Saugerties.

Temperatures have dropped below zero along the river recently, complicating commercial shipping between New York City and Albany. Of the heating oil used in the US, 85% is consumed in the Northeast, and 90% of that is delivered by barge, the Coast Guard said in a release announcing the start of ice-breaking season in mid-December.

Operation Reliable Energy for Northeast Winters is the region-wide effort launched by the Coast Guard to ensure communities in the area have supplies and resources throughout the winter.

The Coast Guard has ice-breaking tugs —including 140-foot seagoing icebreaking tugs and 65-foot small harbor tugs — positioned along the river to help vessels where the river ice is thick. Coast Guard crews also have the service's aircraft and buoy tenders on hand for operations.

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