BANGOR, Maine — The weeks-long deep freeze is keeping Coast Guard ice breakers busy on the New England coast.

The Coast Guard says ice-breaking tugs have been at work on the Penobscot River since last month and that ice has begun forming elsewhere in rivers and harbors.

Capt. Michael Baroody, commander of the Coast Guard in northern New England, said it’s an earlier start than the past two seasons thanks to extreme cold. He said he expects that Coast Guard ice breakers will be “extremely busy for the foreseeable future.”

There are three 65-foot Small Harbor Tugs, capable of breaking up to 12 inches of ice, based in Maine in Southwest Harbor, Rockland and South Portland.

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