Canadian Coast Guard 2019 Arctic Season Underway

News release

CCGS Amundsen
View from the deck of the CCGS Amundsen as it departs Quebec City for its annual science programming on May 30.

June 19, 2019                                      

Montreal, Quebec - Canada’s North is experiencing steady growth in maritime traffic including local, tourist and transiting vessels. As part of the Government of Canada's commitment to Arctic and maritime safety, the annual Arctic operational season ensures safe and efficient movement of vessels in Canada's northern waters. Coast Guard presence is more important than ever for supporting the resupply of northern communities, and contributing to both search and rescue and marine environmental protection.

A new Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker, the CCGS Captain Molly Kool, will conduct its maiden voyage to the Arctic during the Canadian Coast Guard’s 2019 Arctic operational season. The annual season is already in progress and runs into November, providing prolonged vessel presence in Arctic waters under investments from the $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan.

The CCGS Captain Molly Kool is scheduled to depart St. John’s, NL on June 24 for its initial journey to Arctic waters. It will participate in Operation Pacer Goose, which is the annual resupply mission for the Thule US Air Force base in Greenland. Six other Coast Guard icebreakers are scheduled to deploy this season to support Coast Guard operational and program commitments.

  • May 30     CCGS Amundsen, departed Quebec City, QC to support ArcticNet science
  • June 22     CCGS Des Groseilliers departs Quebec City, QC for icebreaking and Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) programming, and Aids to Navigation (ATON)
  • June 22    CCGS Terry Fox departs St. John’s, NL for icebreaking
  • June 24    CCGS Captain Molly Kool departs St. John’s, NL for Operation  Pacer Goose, icebreaking and to support Arctic programming
  • July 3     CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier departs Victoria, BC for CHS programming,  ATON, and icebreaking
  • August 1     CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, departs St. John’s, NL for icebreaking, CHS programming, and science programming
  • August 30    CCGS Henry Larsen, departs St. John’s, NL for icebreaking and  CHS programming

Coast Guard’s skilled crew and Commanding Officers are ready to assist the shipping industry during the annual Arctic resupply missions, known as “sealift”. Providing daily updates on ice conditions and icebreaker operations to industry and partners throughout the shipping season contribute to  successful support for marine shipping in the Arctic.

Throughout the season, a number of researchers and partners, such as the Department of National Defence, the Government of Nunavut, and the Royal Canadian Navy will join Coast Guard vessels to carry out new or ongoing scientific projects, technical sea trials and training operations.

As schedules and opportunities permit, our Commanding Officers will reach out to northern communities to engage in training and familiarization opportunities around search and rescue or environmental response activities. This allows crews and communities to build relationships, and exchange maritime knowledge with each other.


“Each Arctic operational season is an opportunity for us to learn from and work with Indigenous communities and organizations on multiple initiatives, including keeping our oceans and coasts safer, cleaner and healthier. We are proud of our knowledgeable Commanding Officers and crews who work tirelessly to contribute to successful community resupply missions, icebreaking and escort tasks, and our yearly science and operational programming in the Arctic.”

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

“The Canadian Coast Guard’s important work in Arctic waters not only ensures the safety of mariners and our oceans, but it is also an opportunity to work together with Indigenous peoples, northern communities and industry to help address key challenges in the North. We are eager to collaborate with these partners to gain more knowledge towards keeping mariners safe and protecting Canada’s coasts and waterways.”

Neil O’Rourke, Assistant Commissioner, Canadian Coast Guard, Arctic Region

Quick facts

  • The new Inshore Rescue Boat station in Rankin Inlet, NU reopens on June 21, 2019, and is operated by Indigenous students providing local maritime search and rescue response.

  • Annual reopening of the Marine Communication and Traffic Services Centre (MCTS) in Iqaluit was on May 16.  It will remain open until December 23, 2019, at which time NORDREG services will be provided by Prescott MCTS until the 2020 Arctic season opens.

  • As part of work under the Canadian Hydrographic Service, a number of Coast Guard vessels have dedicated seabed mapping programs to ensure a safe and secure marine environment by using state-of-the art multi-beam sonar systems to significantly increase the amount of sea floor surveyed in the Arctic.

  • Under the OPP, Coast Guard is actively working with Indigenous and northern residents to expand the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA) across the Arctic, provide enhanced training opportunities, and identify communities interested in participating in the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program, which provides search and rescue capable boats and other equipment to meet the standards of the CCGA and Transport Canada.

  • Partnering with the Polar Bike Project for the fourth year in a row, the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier is delivering bicycles to Cambridge Bay.

  • Three Royal Canadian Sea Cadets will board the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent to learn about naval and maritime environment by participating in a variety of activities on and off the water.

  • As our ships approach communities where fast ice is present, Coast Guard crews will contact the community to inform residents of planned operations. Crews will coordinate and adjust their work, in order to ensure the safety of hunters and other residents, and that community activities and priorities are respected.

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Media Relations
Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Central and Arctic Region

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