Arctic season winding down but Coast Guard continues to support industry and programs in the North

News Release

MONTREAL, QUÉBEC – The Canadian Coast Guard’s annual Arctic season is winding down as the fall season is upon us and vessel traffic in the Arctic has decreased considerably in the past few weeks.

However, the Coast Guard continues to support industry, science and northern communities. Icebreaker support will be made available by additional operational days in the High Arctic near Milne Inlet, up to October 20, 2017, in response to industry requests and vessel traffic. Under the auspices of the Oceans Protection Plan, the Coast Guard will extend its Arctic season and provide additional operational days over the coming years. The Coast Guard is forecasting a total of 21 additional operational days, meeting the 2017 target.

Seasonal vessel activity decreases across the Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone (referred to as NORDREG) and as activity decreases in the coming weeks, all seven Coast Guard icebreakers, having completed their scheduled programs and northern operations, will reach their homeports to prepare for programs and operations in the south over the winter months, as scheduled below: (subject to change): 

  • CCGS Pierre Radisson – Quebec City – October 5
  • CCGS Des Groseilliers – Quebec City – October 7
  • CCGS Amundsen – Quebec City – October 12
  • CCGS Terry Fox  – St. John’s – October 17
  • CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier – Victoria – October 24
  • CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent – St. John’s – October 26
  • CCGS Henry Larsen – November 18

This year, CCGS Henry Larsen is scheduled to remain in the Arctic until mid-November, available on standby to support remaining shipping in the sector and to respond to incidents such as search and rescue (SAR) or environmental response.

The Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre (MCTS) in Iqaluit will continue to serve Arctic mariners until the end of December 2017 and will reopen in May 2018.

During the 4-month seasonal closure, Arctic vessel traffic and NORDREG desk operations are managed by the Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre in Prescott that also provides a year-round satellite safety information broadcast service for high Arctic waters, ensuring efficient, year-round support of all Arctic marine traffic. 

As of October 1, 2017, preliminary data reports that 29 vessels have completed a full Northwest Passage transit and 15 vessels have completed a partial Northwest Passage transit. These numbers are subject to change once the season closes and all transits have been completed and reported.

The Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue programs are expanding to better support our northern coastal communities. Program personnel will be visiting several Arctic communities over the coming weeks to meet with interested persons to share information about exciting and new job opportunities available to them. Information sessions were/will be held at the following locations:

  • Cambridge Bay, NU on October 10 at 6:30 p.m. – Canada High Arctic Research Station
  • Inuvik, NT on October 12 at 6:30 p.m. –  Midnight Sun Complex
  • Kuujjuaq, QC on October 17 at 6:30 p.m. – Katittavik Town Hall
  • Iqaluit, NU on October 18 at 6:30 p.m. –  Elders' Qammaq
  • Rankin Inlet, NU on October 23 at  6:30 p.m. –  Siniktarvik Hotel and Conference Centre

Photo legend: CCGS Henry Larsen and C3 Expedition vessel Polar Prince meet in Erebus and Terror Bay in late August. Crews and passengers exchanged information about Arctic navigation, vessel operations and more.

Additional multimedia

CCGS Henry Larsen and C3 Expedition vessel Polar Prince meet in Erebus and Terror Bay in late August. Crews and passengers exchanged information about Arctic navigation, vessel operations and more.


The presence of the Coast Guard is vital to ensuring the safety and security of marine traffic in Arctic waters. The Coast Guard works closely with industry, science and other partners to ensure that Arctic operations are managed effectively, are responsive to changing needs and ready to protect the marine environment and serve our northern residents, now and in the future.

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

Quick Facts

  • In 2017, 7 icebreakers were deployed to the Arctic, from Iceland to the Beaufort Sea, from Rankin Inlet to Eureka

  • Completed over 50 ice escorts

  • Conducted 7 community visits

  • Met Oceans Protection Plan objectives for 2017 by extending its season by 4 days and providing an additional 21 operational days

  • Delivered 52 bicycles to Gjoa Haven youth in partnership with Polar Bike Project

  • Participated in the Arctic Guardian SAR international exercise in Iceland

  • Created two new community based CCG Auxiliary Search and Rescue units in Gjoa Haven and Ulukhaktok

  • Delivered assets in anticipation of expanded SAR capacity in the Arctic

  • Successfully refloated and removed two barges: one at Toker Point, NWT and one at Kashechewan, ON (James Bay)

  • Completed Marine Civil Infrastructure work in Coral Harbour, Iqaluit, Cambridge Bay, Chesterfield Inlet, and inspections of Arctic aids to navigation in Nunavik/northern Quebec

  • Supported transits of United States Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter Maple, USCG Cutter Sherman and other vessels of interest

  • Supported training of Royal Canadian Navy personnel for Arctic operations

  • Supported several scientific programs, as well as hydrographic surveys in both the Eastern and Western Arctic

  • Received VIP group of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Parliamentarians

Associated Links


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