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St. Ignace – The U.S. Coast Guard says five vessels have been stranded by ice in the Straits of Mackinac between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas.

The Coast Guard says Friday it’s sending the cutter Biscayne Bay to assist the vessels on the waterway that connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron in the Great Lakes.

The cutter on Thursday worked to clear ice in the St. Marys River near Sault Ste. Marie so that the Sugar Island ferry would be able to cross in case of an emergency. Ice became an issue earlier this week. Regularly scheduled ferry services have been delayed.

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