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Coast Guard responds to changing seas - Subscriber Access Only

By BCShippingNews 14 November 2017

The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) is responsible for the safe movement of ships through inland and coastal waters. Vital maritime services provided by the CCG include aids to navigation, waterways management, environmental response, icebreaking, search and rescue, and marine communications and traffic services. This article will explore how the CCG is responding to a changing sea of issues and expectations at an international, national and regional level.

Global initiatives

Coping with increasing cargo, passenger traffic and vessel size, climate change, migration, over-fishing, terrorism, and piracy, as well as improving distress and disaster response are just some of the trends driving the need for robust coast guard capacity.

In the global context, it is important to note that as a civilian body, the CCG cannot provide enforcement of international and national laws and regulations about the sea, the environment, and sovereignty. The CTA Review Panel observed, “Canada is unusual in having a civilian coast guard. In other northern jurisdictions, such as Denmark, Greenland, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Russia, and the United States, the coast guard is a military or security organization.”

Photo above: Jesse Lawson, Superintendent of Maritime and Civil Infrastructure, atop the 990-metre-high Maitland Island mountain-top construction site. In the background, the Chinook heavy-lift helicopter can be seen approaching with a 15,000-lb sling load of new equipment.

Regardless of organizational structure, coast guards around the world are responding to several common challenges.

In mid-September 2017, Japan hosted the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum Summit which brought together the coast guards of Canada, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States to discuss maritime safety and security in the North Pacific Ocean.