Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

July 07, 2011 14:51 ET

Minister Ashfield Marks the Departure of Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir Wilfrid Laurier on Its Arctic Deployment

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - July 7, 2011) - The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, participated in the departure exercise of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir Wilfrid Laurier as it left Victoria Harbour on a three-and-a-half month voyage in Canada's Arctic. The ship's journey begins in Victoria, B.C., and proceeds along the Pacific coast to Alaska, through the Bering Strait, and into the Canadian Arctic waters of the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

"As an arctic nation, our government is committed to protecting and sustaining Canada's arctic regions. The annual arctic tour of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier facilitates maritime commerce, assists maritime safety, and enforces Canada's Northern agenda," said Minister Ashfield. "We are proud of the work the Canadian Coast Guard does in Northern Canada and our government will continue to support this vital Canadian institution in these pursuits."

While in the Arctic, the ship will perform a number of important tasks including: science research activities, escort services through pack ice, hydrographic survey work, navigational aids work, and other maintenance related activities. As the ship transits through the Arctic region, it will also be available to conduct icebreaking operations as needed. The ship's strengthened hull allows the vessel to crush a path through first-year ice with forays into multiyear ice as needed.

The Sir Wilfrid Laurier will also be on standby to provide ice escort for Arctic tug and barge traffic.

By placing navigational aids and refurbishing range markers at designated locations, the Sir Wilfrid Laurier and its crew will mark hidden hazards throughout the shallow Arctic coastline for local tug and tow traffic. Ensuring that hazards are reduced for shipping makes it possible for the annual supply of essential goods, from heating fuel to construction materials, to reach the isolated communities of the Canadian Arctic.

As one of six Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers that will operate in the Arctic region during the summer months this year, CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier is the only west-coast-based icebreaker that will transit the Pacific Ocean into the western Arctic region.

To view the photos associated with this press release, please visit the following links:

Contact Information

  • Canadian Coast Guard
    Dan Bate
    Communications Officer
    604-775-8809 or 604-209-6225