August 22, 2009 12:11 ET

Government of Canada Takes Action to Protect Canadian Waters From Ship-source Pollution

IQALUIT, NUNAVUT--(Marketwire - Aug. 22, 2009) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, today toured the modernized Dash 7, an aircraft owned by the Government of Canada used to detect ship-source pollution in Canadian waters. Canada previously committed $5 million towards these important security upgrades.

"Our government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is committed to protecting and preserving Canada's North," said Minister MacKay. "As a tool to prevent pollution from entering Canada's oceans, the Dash 7 and the National Aerial Surveillance Program help us to meet this commitment."

The Dash 7 is one of three aircraft used by the National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP) to provide security to Canada's North. During the shipping season, it will conduct surveillance in the Arctic and afterwards, over the Great Lakes.

Over the past 10 months, the Dash 7 was modernized and equipped with a Maritime Surveillance System (MSS 6000). This marine pollution aerial surveillance equipment has greatly increased the detection capabilities of the Dash 7. In the past, aerial surveillance depended on visual detection from onboard crewmembers, which only provided surveillance over a four nautical mile wide corridor. With this equipment, the Government of Canada can track and identify polluters on a 24-hour basis and in situations with reduced visibility, such as darkness or low cloud cover.

The specialized sensors of the new system increase Transport Canada's ability to deter would-be oil polluters, provide emergency response, and support and help Environment Canada in their ice reconnaissance activities.

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All three aircraft of the Government of Canada's National Aerial Surveillance Program fleet have now been modernized with the Maritime Surveillance System 6000 (MSS 6000) to aid in protecting Canada's ocean resources for the benefit of coastal communities and fragile marine ecosystems.

The MSS 6000 integrates a number of remote sensors including:

- Side-Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR) used to detect anomalies on the ocean's surface. This is an all-weather radar that can be used during conditions of reduced visibility (darkness or low cloud cover);

- Electro-optical Infrared Camera System (EOIR) used for long-range identification of ships and collection of evidence. This system can also be used during conditions of reduced visibility (darkness or low cloud cover);

- Ultraviolet Infrared Line Scanner (UVIR) used to analyze the slick and assists in identifying false positives;

- Geo-coded Digital Camera System (still and video cameras) used to obtain evidence during pollution incidents;

- Automatic Identification System (AIS) Transponder Receiver used to obtain vessel identity and voyage information; and

- Satellite Communications System that will enable the National Aerial Surveillance Program fleet to transmit data from air to ground in real time.

The system is capable of air to ground transmissions of imagery and data. All data is coded and displayed on a map for easy analysis by a single system operator.

This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.

Contact Information

  • Information:
    Chris Day
    Press Secretary
    Office of Canada's Transport Minister
    John Baird, Ottawa
    Media Relations
    Transport Canada, Ottawa