The CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent worked through heavy Arctic ice conditions near Cape Bathurst, Northwest Territories. (Canadian Coast Guard photo)

Canadian Coast Guard's 2018 Arctic Operations Ending Soon

Seven icebreakers were deployed to the Arctic during the season and provided safe escorts of ships through ice-covered waters, conducted 20 search-and-rescue operations and 14 environmental response missions, and supported safe navigation, science missions, and training operations with partners.

The CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent was scheduled to depart from Arctic waters during the past weekend, which means the Canadian Coast Guard's 2018 Arctic operational season is coming to an end, the agency announced Nov. 19. Seven icebreakers were deployed to the Arctic during the season and provided safe escorts of ships through ice-covered waters, conducted 20 search-and-rescue operations and 14 environmental response missions, and supported safe navigation, Fisheries and Oceans science missions, and training operations with partners.

As of Nov. 5, the Marine Communications and Traffic Services center in Iqaluit had provided support for 166 vessels in the Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone (NORDREG), including Canadian Coast Guard ships, cargo ships, tankers, cruise ships, research vessels, bulk carriers, tugs, fishing vessels, pleasure craft, and adventurers, according to the agency, which reported that "extreme and challenging ice conditions this season resulted in difficult transit of some vessels in the Northwest Passage." The MCTS center in Iqaluit will continue to serve Arctic mariners until Dec. 21, 2018, and will reopen in May 2019. During the four month seasonal closure, Arctic vessel traffic and NORDREG operations are managed by the MCTS center in Prescott, Ontario.

Funded by the Canadian government's Oceans Protection Plan, a new Inshore Rescue Boat station was opened in Rankin Inlet. Operated by Coast Guard-trained Inuit post-secondary students, it closed Sept. 4 for the season. This Inshore Rescue Boat station responded to three search-and-rescue cases during its first year.

"We are extremely proud of the work that our experienced crews and staff have accomplished yet again this season. It was a particularly challenging year due to unusual ice conditions, and the Canadian Coast Guard worked diligently to ensure the safety and security of mariners and the protection of our marine environment. We look forward to working with our partners and Indigenous communities for the upcoming 2019 Arctic season," said Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

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