Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

September 02, 2016 16:08 ET

Canadian Coast Guard Arctic Operations Continue Mid-Season

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Sept. 2, 2016) -

Editors Note: There are two photos associated with this press release.

The Canadian Coast Guard is nearing the midway point of its 2016 Arctic operations. The icebreaking operations to open up the Arctic shipping season were completed and all program support with science partners and agencies is on schedule. There are currently six CCG icebreakers and five helicopters working in the Arctic.

CCG operations are currently focused mainly on High Arctic areas, such as Eureka and the North Pole. In September, assistance to shipping will shift to Foxe Basin and the Central Arctic, including the Northwest Passage. CCG icebreakers are available to assist or escort commercial vessels that are currently in their second phase of annual Arctic sealift operations to resupply northern communities.

CCG will continue to work with industry in the coming months to ensure scheduled vessel traffic can move into and out of Arctic waters and community harbours safely and efficiently. CCG vessels are also at the ready to respond to environmental response incidents or other urgent or humanitarian emergencies in the Arctic.

To date this season, several icebreakers have been tasked to assist in search and rescue cases involving overdue or missing local residents. One incident involved the temporary grounding of a personal sailing vessel.

The Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre in Iqaluit is currently providing support for approximately 100 vessels per day that are in the Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone (NORDREG) waters at this time. These vessels include cargo / fuel ships, fishing vessels, cruise ships and pleasure crafts. This number is in keeping with averages in previous years.

Ice conditions throughout most of the Arctic have been favourable for shipping this year and that has facilitated access to communities by commercial vessels. On numerous occasions, Coast Guard vessels and crews have engaged in community visits or reached out to local search and rescue groups to initiate discussions or conduct small training exercises.

As part of its commitment to support our northernmost communities, CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier recently delivered 38 bicycles to the hamlet of Taloyoak in the Central Arctic. Hundreds of residents gathered and took in the event organized by Polar Bike Project and the Canadian Coast Guard. This volunteer-based initiative helps to bring needed bicycles to youth in Arctic communities while our vessels are in the Arctic.

Some scientific missions have concluded, such as the Galway project, while others are underway or just starting. CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent reached the North Pole on August 21st, along with the Swedish ship Oden, to support the UNCLOS project – United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea – mapping the outer limits of Canada's continental shelf. This work will continue until mid-September, after which time a different science team will board the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent to work on the annual Joint Oceans Ice Studies Project.

The Canadian Coast Guard is continuing its partnership with Parks Canada to look for the HMS Terror, the second ship from the Franklin Expedition. From late August to mid-September, CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier will provide the critical ship platform for Mission Erebus and Terror 2016, building on the success of previous missions and with the collaboration of Inuit, local governments and other partners.

As weather changes can happen quickly in the Arctic, dates and routes are subject to change with little or no notice due to ice conditions, shipping schedules, or other unexpected situations.

Once icebreaking operations begin anew with cooler temperatures, it is important to note that broken and fragmented icy tracks left behind by icebreaking operations and other ship traffic may not freeze over immediately.

Changes in weather can contribute to unsafe ice conditions that may remain long after the ships have left the area. All ice on or near the planned shipping routes and icebreaking operations should be considered unsafe during and after ship transits through these routes. The Canadian Coast Guard is advising everyone to stay clear of these areas, or use extreme caution.

The public is invited to follow us on social media for regular updates about our Arctic Operations and activities:


The Canadian Coast Guard's continued presence in Arctic waters is vital to the long-term prosperity and wellbeing of our northernmost communities. From ice escorts to aids to navigation, from marine communications to scientific platforms, from search and rescue, environmental response and community resupply or engagement, our vessels and staff are at the ready to provide these valuable services to Canadians.

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Related Products

- CCG Central and Arctic Region - Maritime Information

- Arctic Charting

- Mission Erebus and Terror 2016

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