September 8, 2021
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories – The safety of Canada’s Arctic waters and those who use them is a top priority for the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG). As traffic increases in this vast region, so does the demand for essential coast guard services, including search and rescue.
The Coast Guard crew recently carried out a joint search and rescue exercise with partners from the United States Coast Guard and Canadian Rangers, while respecting COVID-19 protocols, near Resolute Bay, Nunavut on September 6th, 2021.
The exercise involved Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Amundsen, and United States Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Healy searching the area for missing persons at sea, using multiple techniques and methods.
The joint exercise allowed crews from both coast guards to exchange best practices and experiences, and build working relationships in Canada’s unique Arctic environment.
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz, Canadian Coast Guard Commissioner Mario Pelletier, and Canadian Coast Guard Assistant Commissioner Arctic Region Neil O’Rourke were on deck to observe the joint exercise and further discuss collaborative efforts in the Arctic.
The USCGC Healy is a medium icebreaker currently transiting the Northwest Passage. The timing of its transit coincided with the Canadian Coast Guard’s annual Arctic operational season, allowing the two coast guards to plan and carry out this joint exercise.
The Canadian Coast Guard’s Arctic operational icebreaking season lasts annually from June to November. This year, 8 CCG icebreakers are scheduled to be deployed throughout the Arctic season to support northern communities re-supply activities and operational and program commitments, including search and rescue, aids to navigation, and marine environmental response. CCG icebreakers support scientific research, such as the Joint Ocean Ice Study (JOIS), an international collaboration between Canada, the United States, and Japan that monitors oceanographic conditions in the Arctic via an annual month-long, scientific expedition aboard the icebreaker CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent. The CCGS Amundsen is also supporting a multidisciplinary expedition allowing a contingent of scientists from national and international research teams to study the marine and coastal environments of the Canadian and Greenlandic waters.