Enbridge support vessels now patrolling Straits of Mackinac 24/7

Thermal imaging technology confirms anchors are stowed on all nighttime shipping traffic

A large suite of safety measures keeps Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline operating safely in Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac.

In recent days, we’ve added thermal imaging technology to our safety toolbox in the Straits.

In October, Enbridge announced a trio of extra safeguards to reduce the risk of an anchor strike on our dual Line 5 pipelines, while work continues on our $500-million Great Lakes Tunnel project.

One of those safeguards was the addition of two support vessels that monitor Straits traffic. Those vessels have been on the water since mid-October, and are now on patrol 24/7—using forward -looking infrared (FLIR) cameras at night to confirm that ship anchors are stowed.

This near-term solution, along with a vessel communication system and high-resolution cameras, makes the Straits safer for all utilities traversing the bottom of the Straits.

Ultimately, a tunnel will eliminate the possibility of an anchor strike, with a replacement Line 5 pipeline housed within foot-thick concrete walls about 100 feet below the lakebed.

(TOP PHOTO: A forward-looking infrared (FLIR) image taken by a nighttime Enbridge support vessel in the Straits of Mackinac shows this ship's anchor safely stowed.)


Line 5 Straits of Mackinac tunnel agreement

On Dec. 19, 2018, Enbridge reached an agreement with the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (MSCA) to build a replacement tunnel, deep beneath the lakebed, for our Line 5 Straits of Mackinac crossing.