Canadian Coast Guard 2018 Arctic operations nearing mid-season

News release

Montreal, Quebec – The Canadian Coast Guard is nearing the mid-way point of its 2018 Arctic operational season, which runs into November. All seven scheduled vessels have been deployed to the Arctic, the last being the CCGS Terry Fox, which departed Montreal on August 27 to conduct icebreaking assistance in the Northwest Passage. The CCGS Amundsen is another Coast Guard asset in the Arctic that is on a dedicated Arctic Net science program.

As part of her maiden voyage to Arctic waters, the CCGS Samuel Risley completed Operation Pacer Goose, which is the annual resupply mission for the Thule US Air Force base in Greenland. Six other Coast Guard icebreakers are supporting operational and program commitments, such as providing safe escorts of ships through ice-covered waters.

The Marine Communication and Traffic Services Centre (MCTS) in Iqaluit has been open since May 15. As of July 31, MCTS Iqaluit has provided support for 97 vessels in the Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone (NORDREG). These vessels include Canadian Coast Guard ships, cargo ships, tankers, cruise ships, research vessels, bulk carriers, tugs, fishing vessels, pleasure crafts and adventurers. Heavy and difficult ice conditions this season may compromise the Northwest Passage transit of some vessels.

A major accomplishment under the Oceans Protection Plan (OPP) is the opening of Rankin Inlet’s new Inshore Rescue Boat station. An official ceremony took place on July 26 in the community, and included an introduction to crew members, boat inauguration, and information about our collaborative work to increase marine safety in the North. 

Another priority under OPP is an increased capacity for search and rescue in the North. As of August 20, search and rescue exercises have taken place with auxiliary units in Salluit, QC, Yellowknife, NWT, Inuvik, NWT, and Rankin Inlet, NU, and several other communities have been engaged. 

On August 17, the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier delivered bicycles to Ulukhaktok, NWT in partnership with the Polar Bike Project. 50 bicycles and helmets were brought and distributed to the community as part of this volunteer-based initiative. 

Throughout the season, a number of international agencies, researchers and partners, such as the Department of National Defence, the Government of Nunavut, and the Royal Canadian Navy join our vessels to carry out new or ongoing scientific projects, technical sea trials and training operations. In July, members of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets joined the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent had the opportunity to undertake tasks in different vessel departments, while familiarizing themselves with a Fast Rescue Craft and its equipment. 

Coast Guard’s Arctic season runs into November; however, operational plans are subject to change due to ice conditions, changes by industry to their shipping schedules, or other unexpected situations. Weather changes can happen quickly, especially in the Arctic. The Canadian Coast Guard reminds all mariners to ensure that each occupant is wearing a lifejacket or immersion suit, and to prepare for an emergency by carrying additional fuel, food and a signaling device. 

Additional multimedia

CCGS Samuel Risley
The CCGS Samuel Risley completes Operation Pacer Goose resupply mission for Thule air base in Greenland.
CCGS Samuel Risley and HDMS Knud Rasmussen
This is a maiden voyage to the Arctic for CCGS Samuel Risley, home ported in Parry Sound, Ontario. She is pictured below docked alongside Danish naval vessel HDMS Knud Rasmussen.


“With our Arctic season nearing its mid-point, we are continuously engaging and working with our partners and Indigenous communities to ensure the safety and security of mariners and the protection our marine environment. Our knowledgeable and experienced Commanding Officers and crews are working tirelessly, most recently during the grounding of passenger ship AKADEMIK IOFFE, to help keep the Arctic ocean and its coasts safer, cleaner and healthier.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick facts

  • 32 commercial escorts

  • 11 helo-based ice reconnaissance missions

  • 1 commercial harbour breakout

  • 15 Arctic based emergencies requiring deployment/taskings of search and rescue assets

Associated links


Danica Garner
Special Assistant 
Office of the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Office of the Minister of Fisheries Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard 

Regional Communications Branch
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Central and Arctic Region

Lauren Solski
Communications Advisor
Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

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