Icebreaking Operations Directive 1: Provision of Icebreaking Services

A PDF version of Icebreaking Operations Directive 1: Provision of Icebreaking Services can be downloaded here. [PDF - 246 Kb]

1.0 Scope

This administrative directive specifies the conditions under which Canadian Coast Guard icebreaking services may be provided.

2.0 Background

The Minister of Fisheries & Oceans, through various legislative means including the Oceans Act, provides icebreaking services for the safe, economical and efficient movement of ships in Canadian waters and to decrease the risk of flooding as a result of ice build-up.

3.0 Principles

3.1 Purposes

Icebreaking services are provided for the safety of life and property in flood plain areas, the safety of navigation and to improve the efficiency of traffic movement in Canadian ice covered waters.

3.2 Provision

Icebreaking services include:

  1. Route Assistance: to escort ships separately or in convoy, to maintain tracks though shore-fast ice and to stand by for escort requests.
  2. Ice Routing and Information Services: to provide ice information and ice routing advice and to manage ice operations centres.
  3. Harbour Breakouts: to break out ice from wharf faces and harbour approaches in order to increase accessibility to shipping.
  4. Flood Control: to prevent the formation of ice jams and excessive build-up of ice in areas prone to flooding and to facilitate ice flow during spring break-up.
  5. Northern Resupply: to transport dry cargo and fuel during the annual resupply of Arctic sites when commercial carriers are not available.
  6. Arctic Sovereignty: to ensure a Canadian presence in the Arctic in support of the positions taken by the Government of Canada.

During the winter, icebreaking services are provided in the following periods and locations:

  1. on the Labrador Coast, between October and December, and between May and July.
  2. on the North East and East Coast of Newfoundland, between January and May.
  3. in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Cabot Strait to Scatarie Island, between December and April.
  4. on the St. Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers, between December and April.
  5. in the Great Lakes, between December and April, except for Lake Ontario, where icebreaking is not provided between December and March.

During the summer months, icebreaking services are provided in the Canadian Arctic in the following periods and locations:

  1. Hudson Bay and Strait and Frobisher Bay, between July and October.
  2. Foxe Basin, between August and September.
  3. Davis Strait and Baffin Bay, between July and October.
  4. Parry Channel and Pelly Bay, between August and October.
  5. High Arctic, between August and September.
  6. Western Arctic, between July and October.

3.3 Exclusions

Icebreaking will not be provided by the Coast Guard in the following situations:

  1. In ports or harbours where commercial icebreaking services are available.
  2. In waters where geographic, meteorological or operational conditions would endanger Canadian Coast Guard crew, ships, equipment, or the vessels that requested the services.

3.4 Requests for Service

Requests for icebreaking services in areas or timeframes outside those defined in this document will be reviewed and prioritized based on weather and ice conditions, the number of available icebreakers in the area, and the amount of traffic needing assistance.

3.5 Service Under Special Agreement

Where it is appropriate and feasible to do so, icebreaking services may be provided under special agreement with other government departments or agencies.

3.6 Icebreaking Service Fee

A Fee Schedule entitled: Fees to be paid for icebreaking services provided by the Coast Guard has been in force since December 21, 1998. It is based on the principle that those who benefit directly from service provided at public expense should pay a fair share of the associated cost.

Detailed information on the fee structure can be found at the Canadian Coast Guard internet site.

4.0 Responsibilities

The Superintendent, Icebreaking, under the direction of the Regional Director, Maritime Services, with the advice and assistance of functional staff at National Headquarters, is responsible for the application of the provisions of this Directive.

5.0 Reference Documents

Ice Navigation in Canadian Waters

6.0 Inquiries

Please direct any inquiries about this directive to the Director of Operational Support, (613) 990-0341.