The Canadian Coast Guard is nearing the mid-way point of its 2018 Arctic operational season, which runs into November.
All seven scheduled vessels have been deployed to the Arctic, the last being the CCGS Terry Fox, which departed Montreal on August 27 to conduct icebreaking assistance in the Northwest Passage.
The CCGS Amundsen is another vessel in the Arctic that is on a dedicated Arctic Net science program.
As part of her maiden voyage to Arctic waters, the CCGS Samuel Risley completed Operation Pacer Goose, which is the annual resupply mission for the Thule US Air Force base in Greenland.
Six other icebreakers are supporting operational and program commitments, such as providing safe escorts of ships through ice-covered waters.
The Marine Communication and Traffic Services Centre (MCTS) in Iqaluit has been open since May 15. As of July 31, MCTS Iqaluit has provided support for 97 vessels in the Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone (NORDREG). These vessels include Canadian Coast Guard ships, cargo ships, tankers, cruise ships, research vessels, bulk carriers, tugs, fishing vessels, pleasure crafts and adventurers. Heavy and difficult ice conditions this season may compromise the Northwest Passage transit of some vessels.
According to the coast guard, a major accomplishment under the Oceans Protection Plan (OPP) is the opening of Rankin Inlet’s new Inshore Rescue Boat station. An official ceremony took place on July 26 and included an introduction to crew members, boat inauguration, and information about the collaborative work to increase marine safety in the North.
Another priority under OPP is an increased capacity for search and rescue in the North. As of August 20, search and rescue exercises have taken place with auxiliary units in Salluit, QC, Yellowknife, NWT, Inuvik, NWT, and Rankin Inlet, NU, and several other communities have been engaged.
Throughout the season, a number of international agencies, researchers and partners, such as the Department of National Defence, the Government of Nunavut, and the Royal Canadian Navy join coast guard vessels to carry out new or ongoing scientific projects, technical sea trials and training operations.
Coast Guard’s Arctic season runs into November, however, operational plans are subject to change due to ice conditions, changes by industry to their shipping schedules, or other unexpected situations.