New equipment for Canadian Coast Guard will help clean up oil spills in icy waters

News release

May 14, 2021           

Ottawa, Ontario - The Canadian Coast Guard plays a vital role in protecting our oceans from coast to coast to coast. Under the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is investing in the Coast Guard to ensure it has modern equipment needed to respond to environmental spills quickly and effectively. These investments will allow it to continue protecting Canada’s waters, coasts and coastal communities from marine pollution.

Following an open and competitive process, Public Services and Procurement Canada, on behalf of the Canadian Coast Guard, has awarded a $1,669,777 contract for the acquisition of two ice skimmers to Griffin Engineered Systems Inc. of Halifax, Nova Scotia; with an option to buy one more.

The high-capacity ice skimmers will be used to recover spilled oil in offshore, unsheltered and ice covered waters. The equipment is expected to be delivered to the Coast Guard’s Quebec City base by fall 2022.

The $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. This national plan is creating a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coastlines and clean water for generations to come. This work is being done in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders and coastal communities.


“Our Government launched the $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan to ensure Canada’s coasts and waterways are preserved and protected for years to come. Under this plan, we’ve continued to deliver the hardworking women and men of the Canadian Coast Guard with the very best equipment to respond to emergencies on the water. These ice skimmers will mean faster response times, and safer, healthier waterways from coast to coast to coast. ”

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“The Government of Canada is delivering the equipment the Canadian Coast Guard needs to protect Canada’s waters and shorelines from hazardous oil spills. This contract will help preserve our marine environment, while stimulating the economy in the province of Nova Scotia.”

The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement

“The Government of Canada prioritizes the safety and security of Canada’s transportation system. This equipment will strengthen our ability to respond quickly and effectively to marine oil incidents, reducing possible harm on the local environment. Thanks to the Oceans Protection Plan, marine shipping is safer, and our marine species are better protected, than ever before.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • Since the Oceans Protection Plan started in November 2016, over 50 initiatives have been announced in the areas of marine safety, research and ecosystem protection that span coast-to-coast-to-coast.

  • The ice skimmer will be designed to work in harsh conditions and collect oil even if 70 per cent of the water surrounding the spill is covered in ice.

  • The ice skimmer will collect 90 per cent of light, medium and heavy oil. At full capacity it has an oil recovery rate of at least 100 cubic meters per hour (m3/h).

  • Oil skimming in cold environments is a new and developing concept. The skimmer makes use of recent development in oil clean up technologies such as steam and hot water injection.

  • Colder temperatures make the oil thicker and ice gets in the way of standard recovery efforts. The ice skimmer will be able to collect oil that is as thick as peanut butter - capable of recovering oils and bitumen of at least 540 000 centistokes (cSt).

Associated links


Jane Deeks
Press Secretary 
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada 

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