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Canadian Coast Guard demonstrates Arctic environmental response capacity in Iqaluit, Nunavut  


YELLOWKNIFE, NT, – The Canadian Coast Guard held a training exercise involving a simulated marine oil spill clean-up operation on Thursday, September 15th. The exercise simulated the initial response to a significant diesel spill in the vicinity of the Port of Iqaluit. Response crews exercised observation, response, and beach flush missions. Led by Nunavut-based Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response personnel, the mission involved a National Aerial Surveillance Program aircraft from Transport Canada and the CCGS Henry Larsen, among other personnel and assets. Members of the community and the media were invited to witness the exercise.

On Friday, September 16th, the Canadian Coast Guard welcomed the community for a special 60th Anniversary open house event at Iqaluit Square. The public was invited to meet with personnel, view equipment used to keep Arctic waters safe, and ask questions about career paths and employment opportunities.

The Arctic season so far 

The Canadian Coast Guard is past the mid-way point of its 2022 Arctic operational season, which runs annually from June to November.

Canadian Coast Guard’s icebreakers were deployed to the Arctic to support northern communities and operational and program commitments this season. This includes escorting vessels through ice-covered waters to facilitate the delivery of essential supplies to Northern communities, conducting hydrographic surveys, maintaining navigational aids, supporting science programs, and working with provincial, territorial, national and international maritime partners.

Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers working in the Arctic are equipped to deal with emergency issues such as search and rescue and marine pollution incidents.

Between August 1-12th, CCGS Des Groseilliers participated in Operation Pacer Goose, the annual resupply mission of the U.S. Air Force base in Thule, Greenland. The Canadian Coast Guard’s icebreaking services allowed cargo ships and tankers to safely access the base for critical resupply and refueling.

Between August 7-9th, the Canadian Coast Guard participated in Operation Nanook-Tuugaalik, an annual joint Arctic exercise led by Canada’s Department of National Defence. The Canadian Coast Guard worked with national partners from the Royal Canadian Navy, international partners from the U.S. Coast Guard, and French and Danish navies.

On August 12, 2022, the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced new funding while meeting with Indigenous organizations and governments on key priorities in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. This new funding, announced under Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, will see the local station upgraded to become an Arctic Maritime Response Station.

The Canadian Coast Guard will use the funding to hire and train additional crew from local communities; extend the station’s operational season by one month annually, beginning in 2023, to align with the entire ice-free boating season in the area; procure an additional search and rescue vessel, purpose-built for Arctic operations; and, undertake further infrastructure improvements to enhance operational capabilities.

“The Canadian Coast Guard plays an essential role in supporting Arctic communities and ensuring the safe and efficient movement of vessels in Canada’s northern waters. In partnering with northern communities, the Canadian Coast Guard works to ensure the waterways are safe for coastal communities.”The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“I am incredibly proud of all we have accomplished since the creation of the Canadian Coast Guard’s Arctic Region in 2018. This week’s successful exercises and community open house have been a fantastic opportunity for us to put that pride on full display in honour of the Coast Guard’s 60th Anniversary. As demand for our services continues to increase in the Arctic, we will be there to meet the challenge.”Neil O’Rourke, Assistant Commissioner, Canadian Coast Guard – Arctic Region Source: Canadian Coast Guard