OUR SERVICES

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The following sub-sections outline the services provided to each client in terms of planned and actual days provided. It is important to note that the numbers of operational days planned and delivered are a function of various factors, including: availability, budget, breakdowns, priority overrides, weather, unforeseen circumstances, etc.

It must also be noted that the information in the following sections represents the support provided to these clients by Fleet only and should not be interpreted as representative of the entire suite of services that a particular client receives. For example, in some cases it is more efficient for Aids and Waterways Services to be delivered by contractors and these services do not form part of the information provided.

4.1 Spotlight on the Arctic

Coast Guard plays a unique role in Canada's Arctic region, delivering a wide variety of maritime services and strengthening Canada's sovereignty through the presence of its icebreakers. During 2007-2008, on-water icebreaker support to International Polar Year and United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) research was a priority.

From late June to mid-November, the Fleet operates seven icebreakers in the Arctic - they are generally the first vessels to arrive and the last to leave. They provide a full range of services including ice escort to commercial ships, harbour breakout, search and rescue, marine response to oil spills, aids to navigation, communications tower activation and de-activation, and support to science, maritime security and Canadian sovereignty. CCG vessels and helicopters are often the only Government of Canada marine presence for thousands of miles and, as such, support any and all pressing needs.

CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, Heavy Icebreaker
CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, Heavy Icebreaker
Photo: C&A Region

As the signs of climate change in the Arctic become more apparent, with measurable shrinkage in the multi-year ice cover and decline in the extent of summer ice coupled with increased inter-seasonal variability, demands for Coast Guard services in the Arctic are increasing.

UNCLOS

UNCLOS was adopted in 1982 and is often referred to as the "Constitution of the Seas." It entered into force in 1994 after ratification by 60 countries. Canada ratified UNCLOS in 2003.

UNCLOS recognizes coastal states' sovereign rights to the water column and seabed up to 200 nautical miles (the Exclusive Economic Zone or EEZ) from shore and to the seabed beyond under special circumstances. Any such claim must be supported by scientific data, and must be made within 10 years of ratification.

Using the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent as a primary platform, Canada is conducting seismic and bathymetric surveys in the Arctic to support its claim that Canadian sovereignty should extend well beyond the 200 nautical mile limit. Analysis of this field work must be complete by 2012 to meet the November 2013 submission deadline. The consequences of this initiative for Canada could be extraordinarily significant.

CBS News science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg reporting from CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent
CBS News science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg (centre) is reporting from CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent. Sieberg is pictured here with Chief Scientist Dr. John Nelson (left) and Captain Andrew McNeill.
Photo: Paul Galipeau

Louis Helps Bring the Arctic to the World

In July 2007, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent departed on its mission to the Arctic. Joining the crew and scientists was a special guest able to provide a window for the world.

Daniel Sieberg, the CBS Evening News science and technology correspondent, filed stories via satellite, giving American viewers a first hand look at climate change in the Arctic. CBS also dedicated a web page to the photos, video, podcasts and blog that detail how climate change has affected the Arctic, and the potential impacts for the global community.

The stories also spoke to the challenges, routines and traditions of sailing aboard a CCG icebreaker operating in the Arctic. One which caught the imagination of the CBS crew is the time-honoured tradition of a "crossing ceremony" for those crossing the Arctic Circle for the first time.

CCGS Amundsen, Medium Icebreaker
CCGS Amundsen, Medium Icebreaker
Photo: HQ & NCC

The trip was significant to Daniel Sieberg for more than professional reasons - he was joining his father, Doug, a DFO scientist who has been working in the Arctic for 30 years.

International Polar Year

International Polar Year (IPY) marks the largest-ever international program of scientific research focused on the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Thousands of scientists and researchers from more than 60 nations participated. It presented Canada with a valuable opportunity to work with international experts and created a more complete scientific understanding of the North.

A bit of exercise after a hard day’s work
A bit of exercise after a hard day's work
Photo: HQ & NCC

Dozens of Canadian science research projects were selected for IPY 2007-2008 funding from a variety of sources including the federal government, territorial governments, granting agencies and foundations. The Government of Canada's research program focuses in two areas: climate change impacts and adaptation, and the health and well-being of northern communities. The fulfilment of IPY required, amongst other things, the deployment of the CCGS Amundsen for a period of fifteen months. The Circumpolar Flaw Lead (CFL) mission, which itself covered a 10-month period, was unquestionably the mission with the most significant challenge, as the vessel had to spend the entire winter of 2007-2008 operating in the Western Arctic. A Canadian icebreaker operating in the winter in the Canadian Arctic was a historical first. The program supported and funded a total of 44 science research programs, consistent with the six international research themes of:

  • Current state of polar environment;
  • Change in the polar regions;
  • Polar-global linkages and interactions;
  • Investigating new frontiers;
  • Polar regions and vantage points; and
  • Circumpolar human societies.

A supporting member of the science mission.
A supporting member of the science mission.

A Day in the Life of a Commanding Officer

Captain Lise Marchand, Commanding Officer of the CCGS Amundsen
Captain Lise Marchand, Commanding Officer of the CCGS Amundsen.
Photo: J. Beardsell, DFO

Captain Lise Marchand, Commanding Officer of the CCGS Amundsen, was looking for a career that would satisfy her love of travel and feed her desire for knowledge when she joined the Coast Guard in 1977.

She has never tired of life at sea, commenting that "all regions, all seasons have their charm" - although admits that difficult weather in any season makes life on board that much more challenging.

Captain Marchand performed a variety of duties prior to landing on the CCGS Amundsen where she worked on the International Polar Year project. After graduating from the CCG College she started on the Great Lakes as a Junior Officer, advanced to Watchkeeping Officer, then worked her way to become the Commanding Officer on the CCGS Spindrift and the CCGS Cape Hurd. Later on she moved to become the Chief Officer on the CCGS Bartlett. As well, Captain Marchand had the opportunity to work ashore on a variety of tasks: a coordinator in JRCC Trenton, Ontario's SAR centre; in human resources at headquarters; and participated in training at the Canadian Coast Guard College. She has also worked on a number of ships in various capacities in Quebec Region. She has spent the majority of her career at sea.

As the CCGS Amundsen Commanding Officer, Captain Marchand is responsible for the daily operations and safety of the ship and crew. She must respond to changing environmental conditions and make any necessary adjustments to the day's work plan, ensuring that she has the necessary personnel and equipment for the tasks and missions planned with the client. A good part of her work also includes reporting and analysing the day's activities and planning subsequent operations.

In terms of experience, Captain Marchand says the most important part of her work for the CCG is the human aspect, where teamwork is fundamental. She says that working well with people and knowing one's strengths while having developed the appropriate competencies are key to a satisfying career.

4.2 Canadian Coast Guard

4.2.1 Aids to Navigation and Waterways Services

The Aids to Navigation Services Program and the Waterways Management Program ensure the safety and viability of shipping channels and the protection of the public right to navigation.

The Aids to Navigation Services Program provides more than 17,000 short-range marine aids, including visual aids (lighthouses and buoys), sound aids (fog horns), radar aids (reflectors and beacons) and long-range marine aids such as the Differential Global Positioning System.

The Waterways Management Program sustains navigable channels in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, reduces marine navigation risks and supports environmental protection. It monitors channel bathymetry (depth of water) and contributes to international control of water levels.

The fleet supports these programs by placing, lifting, checking and maintaining an extensive system of floating and fixed aids to navigation, both afloat and ashore and by carrying out surveying operations.

A variety of large and small multitasked vessels and helicopters maintain this network. Some aids are year-round, while others are seasonal, which means the aids are lifted for the winter season to prevent damage by ice and are repositioned at the beginning of the navigational season. The fleet must be capable of:

  • Reaching aids in restricted, shallow and ice-infested waters;
  • Serving as a platform to carry and service buoys and related equipment, and for construction of navigational aids; and
  • Supplying air capability to reach aids not accessible by boat or road, especially in remote areas of the Arctic.

Removing a buoy
Removing a buoy

Photo: S. Boniecki

The success of this activity is highly dependent on competent marine professionals. Accurate navigation is key, as placing aids often requires vessels to manoeuvre close to shoals, rocks and reefs. For this reason, extensive local knowledge and specific training are required. Seagoing personnel also deploy, recover and maintain aids, verify the positions and operation of floating aids, keep records of operations, update data on positions and characteristics of aids as required, and conduct maintenance on fixed and floating aids.

Fleet's Performance

Aids to navigation is generally a seasonally based program, with aids installed or winter buoys replaced by summer buoys in the spring and de-commissioned or replaced by winter buoys from mid-November to late December. (Note that service days devoted to waterways management are now captured under Science.) While actual service delivered was 82% of that planned, all floating, fixed and long-range aids were successfully placed for the navigation season and removed or replaced before winter.

Graph 2: Service to Aids to Navigation, 2003-2004 to 2007-2008 (# of Operational Days)

The under-delivery of service compared to plan is due in part to the program cancelling the placement of 70 buoys in the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the decision to stop placing buoys in waters of less than 1.80 metres in depth. Limited human resource capacity on some specialty vessels, more maintenance than planned for the air cushion vehicle and program priorisation are other reasons that explain the 18% gap in service delivery. The operational days delivered to Aids to Navigation continue on a downward trend, from 4,188 days in 2002-2003 to 2,674 in 2007-2008.5 This is due mostly to service efficiency improvements such as the use of contractors and the introduction of new technologies.

Removing a buoy
Removing a buoy
Photo: S. Boniecki.

Fishing vessels being escorted by a CCG Icebreaker.
Fishing vessels being escorted by a CCG Icebreaker.
Photo: NL Region.

4.2.2 Icebreaking Services

CCG provides icebreaking and related services to facilitate the safe and timely movement of maritime traffic through and around ice-covered and ice-infested Canadian waters, for the benefit of industry and the Canadian economy.

The Fleet provides crews trained to operate specialized and multitasked vessels in support of this vital service. Icebreakers must be able to escort ships through ice-covered waters, free vessels trapped in ice, allow access to iceinfested harbours, provide ice information and reduce the risk of flooding by both monitoring and breaking up ice jams. Icebreakers also carry helicopters which are forward deployed to conduct ice reconnaissance flights and to locate open water and leads for effective icebreaking operations.

International Cooperation along the Seaway

The St. Lawrence Seaway is an artery of commerce, a source of hydro power and a recreational resource for Canada and for the United States. The countries work together, through their Coast Guards and other agencies, to monitor, share, and protect this valuable, common marine environment. Severe ice conditions in March 2008 made enhanced cooperation essential to the opening of the shipping season.

On March 19, the CCGS Martha L. Black and the USCG Penobscot Bay started making their way up river from Montreal. The larger Canadian vessel led, with the American vessel trailing behind, widening the channel. Conditions varied from open water to complete ice coverage. Repeated passes were necessary to clear the accumulation of ice near and within each lock but, in the end, the open water served, as it does each year, as a sure sign of spring's arrival.

Graph 3: Trend of Southern and Arctic Icebreaking, 2003-04 to 2007-08 (# of Operational Days)

Canada has two icebreaking seasons: from December to April in the south, from the Great Lakes to the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador, including the St. Lawrence Seaway, River and Gulf; and in the western, eastern and high Arctic, from June to November. The Pacific coast has no icebreaking activities due to its clement weather. At the beginning of June, after completing their winter season operations, seven icebreakers are deployed from the southern regions to the Arctic for the summer season.

Fleet's Performance

The winter of 2007-2008 was difficult, leading to a significant increase in demand for icebreaking services in the south. This reverses a three-year trend of 7% decreases in overall icebreaking services.

A Day in the Life of a Boatswain

Steve Hughes
Steve Hughes

A resident of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Steve Hughes is a boatswain on the CCGS Earl Grey which provides multitasked services, mainly Aids to Navigation Services, SAR and Icebreaking. He is the senior crew member in charge of deck operations.

On a typical day, he plans and supervises vessel maintenance - from cleaning, painting, minor repairs and woodworking to keeping the deck machinery in good working order. He also directs the deck crew while they perform routine seamanship duties. These include berthing, anchoring, maintaining and deploying marine aids, launching and recovering small craft, SAR operations, and loading and securing provisions.

After completing high school, Mr. Hughes studied electronics and pipe fitting at Holland College in P.E.I. He joined the Coast Guard as a steward on the CCGS Wolfe in 1977, transferring to the deck department of the CCGS Tupper in1981. He worked on a number of other ships before joining the crew of the CCGS Earl Grey in 1986. He also worked for one year as a material assets coordinator in Charlottetown.

Mr. Hughes has benefited from a variety of training while a Coast Guard employee - from fast-rescue craft operation and basic oil spill response to staff relations. He is also a certified Rescue Specialist.

As a member of the Federal Public Service, he says he also appreciates the excellent health, dental and pension plans. In addition, the "layday" system of 28 days working followed by 28 days off is very attractive to Mr. Hughes, as it gives him time to operate a small, home-based computer and electronics business.

4.2.3 Search and Rescue Services

Canada's Search and Rescue Program is a cooperative effort of federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments. CCG's SAR service, delivered in conjunction with its partner the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, is responsible for approximately 5.3 million square kilometers of coastal territory, beginning 800 nautical miles offshore in the Pacific, 1,000 nautical miles in the Atlantic, and stretching all the way from the Canada-U.S. border in the south to the North Pole.

The primary SAR service is delivered by vessels and maritime professionals dedicated to this purpose, positioned at various locations across Canada. These vessels are specially designed and constructed to meet the rigorous demands inherent to providing marine SAR capabilities and response in Canadian waters. In addition, the entire fleet is multitasked to provide SAR response in addition to other duties.

SAR Lifeboat conducts training off Tofino, B.C.
SAR Lifeboat conducts training off Tofino, B.C.
Photo: David Ashurst

Key SAR tasks conducted by seagoing personnel are:

  • Conducting visual and electronic searches for vessels and survivors, day and night, by air and by sea, in various weather conditions;
  • Providing a platform for rescue personnel and vessels on-scene and allowing search operations to be conducted;
  • Managing complex searches and acting as on-scene coordinators;
  • Recovering survivors from other vessels, the sea or the shore and providing shelter, amenities and advance first aid to survivors;
  • Providing radio communication facilities for emergency operations, and to enable vessels to communicate with shore-based radio stations, other vessels and rescue craft;
  • Providing fire-fighting capability on board vessels and at shore facilities to save lives; and
  • Providing towing or other services to vessels in need of assistance when life is at risk.

Graph 4: Operational Days Delivered to SAR, 2003-2004 to 2007-2008

Fleet's Performance

Over the past five years, the actual service delivered to the SAR program has increased by 12%, from 14,703 days in 2003-2004 to 16,432 days in 2007-2008.

CCGS Cap Nord, SAR Lifeboat crew member and a Ground SAR team member rescue a canoeist during a SAR exercise.
CCGS Cap Nord, SAR Lifeboat crew member and a Ground SAR team member rescue a canoeist during a SAR exercise. (Steve Harrie, from the Rescue Training Center).

CCG crew on board the Cap Nord fast rescue craft searches Malpeque Bay for lost canoeists during SAR exercise.
CCG crew on board the Cap Nord fast rescue craft searches Malpeque Bay for lost canoeists during SAR exercise.

The drifting Houston Barge, St. Georges Bay, Nova Scotia
The drifting Houston Barge, St. Georges Bay, Nova Scotia
Photo: NL Region.

Barge Rescued in Perilous Conditions

During the night of December 16, 2007, a fierce winter blizzard caused the tug Eileen M. Roehrig to lose its tow of the barge Houston, which was carrying 34,000 litres of diesel fuel, in St. Georges Bay, Nova Scotia. The extreme weather made recovery impossible.

The Coast Guard was contacted and the CCGS Terry Fox and CCGS Edward Cornwallis went immediately to the scene. The barge, drifting rapidly, was located. Three Edward Cornwallis crew members executed a daring climb aboard the barge from a fast rescue craft. While they tried to secure the barge, two colleagues manned the fast rescue craft for three hours on the cold, heaving ocean.

In gale force winds, high seas, and freezing temperatures, the three tried to deploy the barge's emergency tow line to prevent the Houston from grounding and causing an environmental incident. But the line could not be connected, and the barge continued to drift dangerously toward shore. They were forced to drop anchor about a half mile out.

With deteriorating conditions and impending darkness, CCG crew aboard the Houston were evacuated by DND helicopter. The CCGS Edward Cornwallis crew returned the next day and remained on the scene until December 19. If not for the seamanship, professionalism and bravery of the Fleet personnel, the barge would have been badly damaged or grounded on the Cape Breton shore. The employees involved were awarded Commissioner's Commendations and the DFO Prix d'Excellence.

4.2.4 Maritime Security Services

The Fleet supports the Government of Canada's maritime security priorities by providing platforms and maritime expertise to security and law enforcement agencies across the country. In particular, the CCG and RCMP have established the joint Marine Security Enforcement Teams (MSET) Program with armed on-water patrols on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, where the CCG manages, maintains, and operates the vessels while the RCMP provides law enforcement expertise and onboard personnel.

Four mid-shore patrol vessels are being built specifically for the MSET Program. During 2007-2008, CCG dedicated three vessels in support of the MSET program and next year's plan calls for the use of four CCG vessels in support of this program on an interim basis until the four new mid-shore patrol vessels are delivered. In winter, teams operate from icebreakers where and when required.

Marine personnel perform a variety of duties in support of maritime security services. These include:

  • Observing, reporting and recording on maritime security events and organized crime activities;
  • Monitoring and patrolling the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway and vast areas of ocean, including coastal and international waters, and discouraging threats and illegal activities;
  • Patrolling closed and boundary areas and conducting inspections at sea with our partners to ensure compliance with all regulations;
  • Serving as a command platform and secure communications hub for officers in charge of marine enforcement activity;
  • Conducting routine intervention of vessels from rigid hull inflatable boats carried on board; and
  • Providing an operationally ready response capability for maritime security incidents.

CCGS Louis M. Lauzier, Mid-Shore Patrol Vessel
CCGS Louis M. Lauzier, Mid-Shore Patrol Vessel
Photo: QC Region

Fleet's Performance

In 2007-2008 the three ships dedicated to the MSET Program were fully operational from May until November. From December to April, icebreakers replace the dedicated vessels in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway due to winter conditions. Actual delivery was slightly higher than planned as shown in Graph 5.

Graph 5: Service Planned and Delivered to MSET, by Region, 2007-2008 (# of Operational Days)

MSET vessels are poised to respond quickly as required in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. 7% of the capacity available to support the MSET Program was lost due to delays primarily associated to equipment breakdowns. Additionally, CCG supports police agencies in numerous interdiction or contingency based operations each year across the country. In 2007-2008, 128 days were delivered in support of these activities, the majority of which are not planned.

CCG ships conducting an environmental response exercise.
CCG ships conducting an environmental response exercise.
Photo: Integrated Business Management Services

4.2.5 Environmental Response Services

CCG is the lead federal agency for shipsource oil spill response; its role consists of mitigating marine pollution and oil spills, and demonstrating due diligence by the Canadian and global marine community in the prevention of pollution.

In Canada, south of 60°N latitude, the private sector is responsible for environmental response, with CCG providing federal monitoring, oversight and inspection roles. If the CCG determines that the private sector response is inadequate, CCG will assume control, coordinate the response and, if necessary, conduct containment and recovery operations. North of 60°N latitude, CCG is the primary responder.

Fleet's Performance

While 84 days were earmarked for environmental response services, only 37 were required. Fleet participated in three key pollution response incidents in the Newfoundland and Labrador Region - the sinking of the Boatsmanns Hebron, the Labrador and the McNally. As in 2006-2007, this year saw more environmental response incidents than previous years.

4.2.6 Marine Communications and Traffic Services

Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) provides maritime distress and safety communications, conducts vessel screenings, regulates vessel traffic movement, and provides information systems and public correspondence on a 24/7 basis. This service is delivered through a network of 22 centres and supporting communications towers across Canada.

Fleet's role in supporting MCTS is generally limited, since the majority of MCTS sites can be accessed by land for regular maintenance and inspection. Marine personnel typically support MCTS by transferring materials, fuel and maintenance staff from the ship to the repeater sites.

CCG MCTS employee
CCG MCTS employee

Fourteen of the British Columbia sites (in the Queen Charlotte Islands and central coastal areas) are exceptions as they are in mountains and accessible only by helicopter. Consequently, the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier, one Bell 212 helicopter and one Sikorsky S- 61N are most often used. Fleet also supports remote communications site activation and deactivation in the Arctic.

Fleet's Performance

In 2007-2008, 25 operational days were delivered, representing 89% of planned days. This is an acceptable percentage (see section 5.3). The CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier was assisted by other ships with tasks such as radio frequency surveying to test range of MCTS services.

CCG and Conservation and Protection employees at work
CCG and Conservation and Protection employees at work
Photo: S. Boniecki

4.3 Department of Fisheries and Oceans

4.3.1 Science

Fleet supports the Science Program of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, providing trained crews on board both specialized and multitasked vessels such as research trawlers, fishing vessels, hydrographic survey vessels, oceanographic vessels and icebreakers.

The crews support scientists and technicians in a variety of specialized areas such as:

  • Research fishing for a variety of commercial species;
  • Conducting surveys on acoustics, hydrography, geophysics, marine species stock assessment, and benthic habitats and organisms;
  • Conducting marine mammal and seabird enumeration, identification, tracking and bioassessment;
  • Collecting plankton, larvae and phytoplankton;
  • Collecting water samples for marine chemistry studies;
  • Taking bottom sediment samples and coring;
  • Collecting data verifying empirical models for water mass structure and circulation, currents and tidal propagation and prediction; and
  • Conducting remote camera studies of benthic habitats and organisms.

Hudson Voyage of Discovery

In July 2007 a team of researchers explored the ocean depths off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland aboard the CCGS Hudson. New species were discovered and scientists gained a better understanding of littleknown ecosystems that are home to rare corals and fish.

During the voyage, the CCGS Hudson deployed a remotely-operated submersible to capture images of four areas along the continental slope off Nova Scotia at 2.5 kilometres of depth - far deeper than previous studies that had reached only 500 metres.

The team collected more than 3,000 digital images, hundreds of hours of video and dozens of live samples. They found new varieties of starfish, another species of pink bubblegum coral and, most significantly, a type of xenophyophore, a single-cell animal the size of a grapefruit that had previously been found only in the deepest part of the mid-Atlantic.

The data collected contributes to a more comprehensive record of life in the area, and can be used to measure the impact of climate change, fishing, or oil and gas activity in the area.

Around the Grand Banks, scientists found extensive evidence of the effects of bottom trawling. The floor was swept clean and large rocks had been overturned by the big nets that scoop up fish and everything else in their path. This data will help fisheries managers determine which marine areas should be closed off and protected.

Fleet's Performance

As shown in Graph 6, Fleet delivered services to Science almost on target for a second year in a row. In 2006-07, 96% of service was delivered as planned while this year 97% delivery was achieved. The major deviations from plan due to breakdowns were covered primarily through alternate means. The majority of scientific work was conducted in the Maritimes (34%) and the Pacific (25%) regions, followed by Newfoundland and Labrador (19%) and Quebec (19%).

CCGS Calanus II, Near-Shore Fisheries Research Vessel, Scientists at work
CCGS Calanus II, Near-Shore Fisheries Research Vessel, Scientists at work
Photo: NL Region

Graph 6: Service Delivered versus Service Planned for Science, 2003-2004 to 2007-2008 (# of Operational Days)

2008 Seal Survey

A biennial survey of seal populations is conducted by DFO to gather information required to make sound scientific decisions on the size, health and viability of the seal herds and to ensure the continued success of the harvest which is important to the economy of Canada's east coast. At the request of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the 2009 survey was moved forward to March 2008. CCG's Newfoundland and Labrador Region and helicopter staff worked closely with DFO to make it happen.

The CCGS George R. Pearkes was identified as the most suitable vessel to operate in heavy ice conditions and accommodate two helicopters, associated fuel and personnel, scientific personnel and their equipment. It was redeployed for eight days, with other vessels redeployed or doing double duty to fill its void.

All was working well until Mother Nature intervened, enveloping the east coast and Gulf of St. Lawrence with heavier than expected ice.With more redeployments and help from the Québec and Maritime Regions, shipping continued, operations were not compromised, and DFO gathered the information it needed to make sound scientific decisions on the size, health, and viability of the east coast harp seal herd.

CCGS George R. Pearkes, High Endurance Multitasked Vessel/Light Icebreaker
CCGS George R. Pearkes, High Endurance Multitasked Vessel/Light Icebreaker
Photo: HQ & NCC

4.3.2 Fisheries and Aquaculture Management (FAM)

The Fleet provides significant support to DFO's Fisheries and Aquaculture Management Program, consisting of enforcement and surveillance activities in Canadian waters for the Conservation and Protection Program. It also provides enhanced presence at sea in the regulatory areas of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), to stop illegal fishing by foreign fleets on the 282,500 square kilometre Grand Banks of Newfoundland and in international waters.

Specialized fisheries patrol vessels (including armed vessels) are used in the near-shore and offshore areas of Canada. Multitasked vessels with helicopter support are provided as required. CCG maritime professionals support fisheries officers in performing enforcement duties, including:

  • Monitoring and patrolling vast areas of coastline and providing a federal presence in Canadian waters, thereby deterring threats and illegal activities;
  • Helping to ensure compliance with Canadian laws in Canadian jurisdictions;
  • Supporting fisheries interdiction activities;
  • Patrolling closed and boundary areas and conducting inspections at sea;
  • Serving as a command platform and secure communications hub for Conservation and Protection enforcement activity;
  • Conducting general and covert surveillance and monitoring various fisheries;
  • Recovering, seizing and storing and transporting illegal fishing gear; and
  • Checking licenses, logbooks, catch and gear. Activities may include inspections of fixed and mobile gear types, and disclosure of poaching and/or other means of illegal fishing.

Fleet's Performance

Table 5 indicates the various patrols undertaken in 2007-2008, mostly in Canadian waters, and in NAFO regulatory areas. 4,067 operational days were delivered. This continues a trend that began in 2002- 2003, with approximately 85% of planned service days being delivered. 80% of the non-delivery occurred on the west coast mainly due to the requirement to respond to SAR cases and other service requirements. The remaining days undelivered were on the east coast due primarily to maintenance requirements of our ageing fleet. The administrative category includes all the time taken for preparing court files, such as compiling data, preparing enforcement patrol reports, written communications with crown counsel and court preparation and appearance.

Table 5: FAM Patrols Undertaken in 2007-2008
 # of days% of total days
Patrol in Canadian Waters 2,335.66 57.4
NAFO Patrol 1,218.52 30.0
Resource Management 248.91 6.1
Other Patrol 187.45 4.6
Administrative 58.70 1.4
Patrol in International Waters* 16.10 0.4
Aboriginal Fisheries 1.64 0.0
Total 4,066.98 100.0

* Patrols off Pacific and Maritimes coasts.

CCGS Arrow Post, Mid-shore Patrol Vessel
CCGS Arrow Post, Mid-shore Patrol Vessel

4.4 Other Government Departments and Agencies (OGD)

Fleet is responsible for on-water operations (vessels, helicopters, expertise, personnel and infrastructure) on behalf of, or in support of other government departments and agencies in the achievement of their specific maritime priorities. These include the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Environment Canada (EC), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the Department of National Defence (DND), the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), Transport Canada (TC) and others.

Graph 7: Service to OGD, 2003-2004 to 2007-2008 (# of Operational Days)

Client requirements, mission and operational profiles dictate the type of support needed. For example, EC, the NSERC and NRCan need specifically designed scientific vessels to support their requirements.

Fleet's Performance

During 2007-2008, 1,144 operational days were delivered to other government departments. This is a significant increase over previous years, due primarily to increased science and research support in the Arctic, including support to UNCLOS and the International Polar Year.

Eureka - We Made It

One of Fleet's important annual missions is the delivery of fuel, food and other supplies to the Eureka meteorological station in Canada's High Arctic. Eureka is one of the world's most isolated meteorological stations at latitude 80°N. In September 2007, the weather and ice conditions encountered by the CCGS Des Groseilliers made the delivery particularly challenging.

The Des Groseilliers was loaded up with some 1,300 barrels of fuel, tons of equipment and food crates, and the ship was carrying an additional 701,000 litres of diesel fuel in its tanks to be later transferred directly into a pipeline at Eureka. As it made its way up north, the ice and weather conditions were difficult and worsening. On the bridge of the Des Groseilliers, Captain Sylvain Bertrand was on perpetual watch, constantly adjusting the vessel's position to avoid becoming trapped in ice.

The CCGS Des Groseilliers finally arrived into the fjord at Eureka, where barges were used to unload the supplies. They waited for the winds to diminish before they could consider the delicate operation of pumping off the diesel fuel. The Des Groseilliers then approached shore as close as possible, dropped both anchors and moored to two locations on shore to stabilize its position while the fuel line was hooked up. During the evolution, the Des Groseilliers was vulnerable as it could no longer take evasive action against the shifting ice. The CCGS Terry Fox was put to work to block large chunks of ice, with the ships' barges in charge of deflecting moving ice pans from bearing down on the fuel line stretched from the Des Groseilliers to the shore. The operation continued through the night and all the following day for the crew of the Des Groseilliers and their colleagues on the Terry Fox.

CCGS Des Groseilliers, Medium Icebreaker.
CCGS Des Groseilliers, Medium Icebreaker.
Photo: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Operation Nanook 07

In August 2007, the Fleet supported a largescale security and sovereignty exercise in Canada's northern waters - around Iqaluit, the Baffin Island coast and in Hudson Strait. Operation Nanook 07 involved approximately 600 members of the Canadian Forces, CCG personnel and RCMP members.

The exercise provided an excellent opportunity for military and civilian partners to work together in protecting and defending these remote locations. They were able to practice inter-agency communication in the North and turn theoretical knowledge and skills into valuable experience.

As well as the sovereignty aspects of the exercise, Operation Nanook included an environmental training exercise led by CCG and a drug interdiction training exercise led by the RCMP.

CCGS Martha L. Black with the HMCS Fredericton during Operation Nanook in August 2007 
CCGS Martha L. Black with the HMCS Fredericton during Operation Nanook in August 2007
Photo: C&A Region

CCG Siyay, an Air Cushion Vehicle and a Rigid Hull Inflatable
CCG Siyay, an Air Cushion Vehicle and a Rigid Hull Inflatable


5 Operational Days are defined as calendar days of programming assigned to an individual client.