Canadian Coast Guard 2017 Arctic Season Underway

News Release

June 19, 2017

Montreal, Quebec – The Canadian Coast Guard is pleased to announce that its annual Arctic operational season is now underway. Months of planning and preparations have gone into making this one of the earliest starts to its Arctic operations. The Canadian Coast Guard is expanding its Arctic season in 2017-2018 and will continue to gradually increase its presence over the next several years.

Guided by the new Oceans Protection Plan as well as the Enhanced Federal Operational Capacity in the Arctic Initiative, the Canadian Coast Guard is positioned to support ocean science, management, and maritime security while strengthening its ability to protect Canadians, support our most northern residents and protect the marine environment throughout the Arctic.

The annual reopening of our Marine Communication and Traffic Services Centre (MCTS) in Iqaluit took place on May 15, and signals the official start of our Arctic season as marine traffic in the Western Arctic NordReg zone, including the Mackenzie River and Great Slave Lake becomes active.  NordReg services were provided by Prescott MCTS from the end of December 2016 to May 15, 2017. MCTS Iqaluit will remain open until late December 2017.

Marine traffic in the Eastern Arctic will pick up shortly as industry begins its first leg of annual resupply missions known as “sealift” to the Arctic in mid-June until late July based on industry schedules. Coast Guard icebreakers will be at the ready to assist the shipping industry. Industry and partners are also provided with access to daily updates regarding ice information and icebreaker operations throughout the shipping season further enhancing communication and support for activity in the North.

CCGS Amundsen departed from Quebec City on May 25 and is providing vital icebreaking support in Eastern Canada before embarking on scientific programming. Scientists and experts on board CCGS Amundsen will be carrying out the “Nunavik Inuit Health Survey’ visiting seven (7) coastal communities in Nunavik.

Six other Coast Guard icebreakers will be deployed in 2017 to support Coast Guard operational and program commitments. Each vessel is equipped with knowledgeable and experienced Commanding Officers and crews.

·       June 18 - CCGS Des Groseilliers – departed Quebec City  to conduct CCG technical support and icebreaking

·       June 19 - CCGS Terry Fox, departed Botwood, NL en route to conduct icebreaking

·       July 3 - CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier – departing Victoria for science programming and icebreaking

·       July 10 - CCGS Henry Larsen – departing St. John’s, NL  to conduct icebreaking

·       August 25 - CCGS Pierre Radisson – departing Quebec City for Arctic and international operations

·       August 25 - CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent – departing Halifax for Arctic icebreaking operations and scientific programming (JOIS: Joint Ocean Ice Studies)

Throughout the season, a number of other agencies such as Natural Resources Canada, the Royal Canadian Navy, as well as international agencies, researchers and other partners will join our vessels in order to carry out a number of new or ongoing scientific projects, technical sea trials and training operations.

As our ships approach individual communities where fast ice is present, CCG crews will contact the community to ensure that hunters and other residents are advised to avoid the area during operations.

Additionally, as schedules and opportunities permit, our Commanding Officers will be reaching out to our Northern and Inuit communities to engage them in training and familiarization opportunities around search and rescue or environmental response activities. The Coast Guard will also engage in marine search and rescue operations or environmental response activities on a priority basis if called upon.

The Coast Guard is committed to indigenous engagement and training. We are actively working with Inuit, Inuvialuit and other northern residents in order to expand the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary across the Arctic. Several units in Nunavik (Northern Quebec) have been recently certified and more will be brought on in 2017 in Nunavut and Northwest Territories.  

Helping to ensure a safe and secure marine environment, the Coast Guard will once again collaborate with the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) to support their work in Arctic surveying and charting, using state-of-the art multi-beam sonar systems, to significantly increase the amount of sea floor surveyed in the Arctic.

During 2017, the Canadian Coast Guard expects to support or engage with other Arctic endeavours such as the Canada C3 Expedition and the Polar Bike Project.


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We are committed to working with provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples, industry, environmental organizations and other partners like universities to further protect our coasts and waterways in the Atlantic, Pacific and the Arctic.

2017 marks the 55th anniversary of our proud and dedicated Canadian Coast Guard that continues to serve Canadians with distinction. Through recent investments under the $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan, we are providing the Coast Guard with the tools and resources required to continue to reflect our shared vision and ideals and to protect our coasts and waterways and ensure the safety of mariners and the marine environment.

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

Another busy and exciting year is unfolding for the Canadian Coast Guard in the Arctic. We welcome new challenges, opportunities and initiatives that are helping us to expand our role and presence in the Arctic. Through our Arctic operations, we continue to grow as an organization in order to better support our clients, our northern partners and our Inuit communities.

Julie Gascon, Assistant Commissioner, Canadian Coast Guard, Central and Arctic Region

Quick Facts

  • In 2016, eight Coast Guard ships were deployed throughout the season: CCGS Amundsen, Des Groseilliers, Louis S. St-Laurent, Pierre Radisson, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Terry Fox, Henry Larsen, and Martha L. Black.

    Statistics and activities by the seven icebreakers deployed in 2016 included (excluding Amundsen):

    o      588 days of operations

    o      Travelled a combined total distance of just over 82 966 nautical miles (all programs/operations, from homeport to homeport)

    o      Provided a total of 1,190 hours of icebreaker assistance to shipping

    o      Provided 29 vessel escorts

    o      Operated CCG helicopters for a total of 169 hours

    o      Responded to 8 search and rescue (SAR) cases

    o      Responded to 1 environmental response (ER) case

    o      Conducted 12 crew changes

    o      Participated in / attended several community events such as Polar Bike Project and the Terry Fox Run; provided familiarization to Coast Guard auxiliaries

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Associated Links


Regional Communications Branch
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Central and Arctic Region

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