Canadian Coast Guard begins 2023 Arctic Season

News release

June 22, 2023

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories - The Canadian Coast Guard’s (CCG) annual Arctic operational season is underway. In total, eight CCG icebreakers are scheduled to deploy from June into November to support northern communities and operational and program commitments.

  • June 14 – CCGS Vincent Massey departed Quebec City, QC, for icebreaking in Frobisher Bay and Hudson Strait.
  • June 17– CCGS Pierre Radisson departed Québec City, QC, for icebreaking, opening and maintenance of the Killiniq weather and communication station, commissioning aids to navigation in the Hudson Strait, refueling the remote Eureka station, science, and Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) surveys.  
  • June 19  – CCGS Terry Fox departed St.John’s, NL, for icebreaking and Operation Pacer Goose, the annual resupply of Pituffik Space Base (formerly US Thule Air Base) in Greenland.
  • July 5 – CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier departs Victoria, BC, for icebreaking, aids to navigation maintenance in the Western Arctic, science, resupply, and CHS surveys.
  • July 8 – CCGS Amundsen departs Quebec City, QC, for science missions led by Amundsen Science.
  • July 27- CCGS Henry Larsen departs St. John’s, NL, for icebreaking and CHS surveys.
  • August 1- CCGS Des Groseilliers departs Quebec City, QC, for icebreaking and CHS surveys.
  • August 3 – CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent departs St. John’s, NL, for icebreaking, the Joint Ocean Ice Study scientific mission in Beaufort Sea, and the closing of the Killiniq weather and communication station. 

CCG ships and their dedicated crews are ready to assist the shipping industry during the annual Arctic resupply missions. Safe and efficient navigation in Arctic waters is maintained throughout the shipping season by providing daily updates on ice conditions and operations, as well as ice escorts, when needed, to industry and partners.

CCG’s seasonal Marine Communication and Traffic Services (MCTS) centre in Iqaluit, NU, opened on May 15, 2023. In the Arctic, MCTS Officers play a crucial role in ensuring safe navigation in the region; they respond to maritime distress calls, manage the Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone Regulations (NORDREG), broadcast weather and ice information, and navigational warnings. MCTS Iqaluit will remain open until mid-December 2023, at which time NORDREG services will be provided by the MCTS centre in Les Escoumins, QC, until the Iqaluit centre reopens in 2024.

Throughout the season, a number of federal government and academic researchers, plus hydrographers, will join CCG ships to carry out new or ongoing scientific projects and hydrographic surveys. CCG will also carry out joint training operations with national and international Arctic partners.

As schedules and opportunities permit, crews will engage in training and equipment familiarization with Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliaries, such as search and rescue and/or environmental response activities. Such opportunities allow crews and communities to build relationships and exchange maritime knowledge with each other.

The Government of Canada is committed to maritime safety, providing essential services to mariners, and ensuring the health and safety of all Canadians. The Canadian Coast Guard’s annual Arctic icebreaking season allows the safe and efficient movement of vessels and goods in northern waters, which is key to community resupply. CCG’s presence in Canada’s North also provides key services, such as search and rescue, support for scientific research, marine communications and traffic services, aids to navigation, and marine environmental response. 

Quick facts

  • The Canadian Coast Guard’s Arctic Marine Response Station in Rankin Inlet, NU, reopens on June 23, 2023, to provide local maritime search and rescue services during the summer season.

  • The Arctic Marine Response Station first opened in 2018 under the Oceans Protection Plan, establishing it as the first Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue facility in the Arctic.

  • Since 2016, the Government of Canada has dedicated $3.5 billion to the Oceans Protection Plan, making it the largest investment Canada has ever made to protect its coasts and waterways.

  • The Canadian Coast Guard works closely and trains with communities and the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary across the Arctic in search and rescue efforts. The Auxiliary are an essential part of the search and rescue system in the Arctic, with trained personnel who have extensive knowledge of specific risks in different waterways and areas across the Arctic. Auxiliary units are excellent for dealing with local issues and they enhance the capacity and capability for search and rescue in the Arctic.

  • Navigational products released by the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) provide essential maritime information to support safe and efficient navigation in the Arctic. This year, CHS hydrographers will sail aboard four CCG icebreakers to conduct survey work and increase the amount of sea floor surveyed in the Arctic to support charting. Data will be collected through the use of multi-beam echo sounders installed aboard icebreakers, and smaller survey boats that can be launched from icebreakers to access shallower areas.

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

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