Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

November 01, 2011 13:21 ET

Minister Ashfield Welcomes Home Coast Guard Icebreaker Sir Wilfrid Laurier From the Arctic

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 1, 2011) - The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, welcomed home the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Sir Wilfrid Laurier following its three-and-a-half-month deployment to Canada's Western Arctic. The Victoria-based ship was one of seven Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers that participated in operations in Canada's Arctic this summer.

"I am pleased to welcome the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier back to its home port of Victoria," said Minister Ashfield. "The Laurier has performed extremely valuable work in Canada's Arctic Region supporting Canada's Arctic sovereignty and agenda."

During its time in the western Arctic, the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier travelled more than 12,500 nautical miles on a route that took the ship up the B.C. coast to Alaska, around the Alaska panhandle, through the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas, and into the western Canadian Arctic. The journey was divided into three cycles, in which alternating crews worked up to 42 days onboard the vessel, to be relieved by another crew at the end of the cycle. Once its Arctic program was complete, the ship took the same route back before the Arctic winter icepack began to form.

While in the Arctic, the ship serviced a total of 146 fixed and floating aids to navigation, which included refurbishing navigational range markers, beacons, radar reflectors and radar transponders. Aids to navigation provide mariners a means for safe routing throughout the shallow Arctic coastline. The ship was also tasked by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre to respond to three separate search and rescue calls to locate overdue vessels in the area.

In addition, with the support of the Coast Guard crew, scientists onboard the ship conducted data and sample collections for a wide variety of collaborative science projects. As part of this work 166 water column samples and 149 sea floor and sediment samples were collected. This work, as well as other plankton and benthic sampling, was undertaken to obtain physical, biological, and geochemical parameters from the ocean water column to detect and describe changes in the Arctic marine environment.

In support of the Parks Canada archaeological search for artifacts of the Franklin expedition, the crew from the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier participated in shoreline searches for artifacts at sites in Nunavut. Other work undertaken by the crew included assisting Canadian Hydrographic Service hydrographers survey areas for which they previously had limited or outdated information. New and revised charts that will be created with this data will help to improve navigation of the Canadian Arctic.

Since 2005, the Government of Canada has committed to renewing the Canadian Coast Guard fleet. This includes the procurement of some small vessels and small craft, repairs and Vessel Life Extensions as part of the Economic Action Plan, and construction of nine Hero Class Patrol Vessels, three Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels, one Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel, one Air Cushioned Vehicle and a new Polar Icebreaker - CCGS John G. Diefenbaker.

The Polar Icebreaker and the Offshore Science vessels will be constructed as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, led by Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Contact Information

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