Government of Canada partners with Inuit firm to enhance marine safety in the Arctic

News release

March 14, 2024

Iqaluit, Nunavut - The Arctic Ocean within Inuit Nunangat is a unique and challenging environment. Ensuring these waters are safe for Northerners and mariners is crucial. This is why the Government of Canada continues to make significant investments to improve marine safety across the North and the Arctic.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is pleased to announce that the Canadian Hydrographic Service has awarded a contract to Sedna ROV Services, a marine and underwater services company based in Iqaluit, Nunavut, to conduct hydrographic survey missions in the Arctic. The contract for this project, worth $6.5 million over two years, was awarded in July 2023. The first survey mission was completed in late October 2023. This initiative is funded through the second phase of the Oceans Protection Plan that was announced in August 2022.

Operating from aboard the icebreaker M/V Polar Prince (owned by Miawpukek Horizon Maritime Services), Canadian Hydrographic Service survey equipment and hydrographers successfully surveyed over 9,000 linear kilometres of Arctic Ocean last year. These hydrographic surveys will play a crucial role in advancing our knowledge of the Arctic seabed. The data collected will contribute to the safety and efficiency of navigation, support environmental protection efforts, and facilitate sustainable economic development in the region.

Furthermore, this initiative supports job training and employment opportunities for Indigenous students in post-secondary marine studies programs to work as cadets aboard the M/V Polar Prince. By working with Sedna ROV Services, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is demonstrating its commitment to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, based on respect, partnership, and recognition of rights, and to fostering safe and sustainable opportunities for economic growth and development in the North.

The Oceans Protection Plan is a success story. When Indigenous Peoples, industry, communities, experts, academia, and government work together to protect our environment, grow our economy, and support good jobs across the country, we deliver real results. Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan is keeping our oceans and coasts healthy, advance reconciliation, and build a clean future for our children and grandchildren.


"I am proud that our government is teaming up with Indigenous Peoples in the North on such an important issue. Indigenous Peoples have always been strong, responsible stewards of the land, air and water. This collaboration will provide valuable data that will support marine safety and sustainable development in the Arctic. Congratulations to everyone for making this great initiative possible!"

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“With these hydrographic survey missions, the Government of Canada will deliver data on the Arctic seabed, resulting in safer marine navigation in Canada’s North. This is another step taken through Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan to make our waters safer and more protected, than ever before.”

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Transport

“Working with CHS aboard the Polar Prince was a great opportunity for me. I was able to gain new experience as a cadet, learn more about the ocean and hydrography, and introduce CHS staff to my home community of Kinngait, Nunavut. It was a thrilling experience!”

Mealegala Ottokie, cadet trainee, Sedna ROV and Miawpukek Horizon Cadet Program

Quick facts

  • The Canadian Hydrographic Service has awarded a $6.5 million contract to Nunavut’s Sedna ROV to conduct dedicated hydrographic survey missions in Canada’s Arctic during the 2023 and 2024 field seasons. 

  • During the successful first year of the project, over 9000 linear kilometres of Arctic Ocean were surveyed -- a distance greater than the world’s longest international land border (between Canada and the United States.)

  • As part of the Oceans Protection Plan, the two-year project will improve charting in the proposed northern low impact shipping corridors by using modern sonar technology to collect hydrographic data. 

  • M/V Polar Prince is an Indigenous-owned ice-classed multi-functional vessel operated by Miawpukek Horizon Maritime Services from Conne River, Newfoundland. Sedna ROV Services has partnered with Miawpukek to provide service to clients in Nunavut and support job training and employment opportunities for Indigenous seafaring cadets.

  • Since its launch in 2016, the Oceans Protection Plan has, among other things: 

    • Introduced Arctic Shipping Safety and Pollution Prevention Regulations to effectively handle unique hazards faced by vessels in the Arctic.
    • Invested in safety equipment and marine infrastructure to improve the efficiency of critical sealift and resupply operations in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut communities.
    • Increased the number of Marine Safety inspectors in Northern communities to improve the safety of marine vessels, their crews, and the environment in which they operate.
    • Increased modern hydrographic coverage in the Arctic Primary and Secondary Low Impact Shipping Corridors to help mariners navigate safer.
    • Expanded the National Aerial Surveillance Program to increase the observing, analyzing, recording and reporting of marine pollution in Canada’s northern waters. Investments include ongoing construction of a new aircraft hanger complex in Iqaluit. 

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Jeremy Collard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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