Canadian Coast Guard wraps up reduced Arctic season
Testing keeps COVID-19 off vessels
With the freeze-up progressing throughout the Arctic, all Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers have now left northern waters.
The coast guard completed its 2020 Arctic operational season on Dec. 1, with eight icebreakers visiting the Arctic this year.
The CCGS Henry Larsen was last to leave Nov. 30 from Frobisher Bay.
The 2020 season was “unlike any other,” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the coast guard still managed to maintain normal levels of service, according to a release from the organization.
All non-essential public engagement activities in the Arctic were cancelled, such as community visits and tours of coast guard ships.
Special measures, including COVID-19 testing for crews before boarding icebreakers heading to the Arctic, kept crews safe.
“There have been no cases of COVID-19 to date on any coast guard vessel across the country,” the release stated.
The coast guard’s training and exercise program held seven exercises with the Canadian Red Cross, Government of Nunavut and hunters and trappers organizations, though five of them were carried out remotely.
Eight vessels made full transits of the Northwest Passage this year, compared to 27 as of Nov. 27, last year, according to the coast guard.
As for Arctic distress calls, the coast guard was involved in 77 cases in 2020, including 32 responded to by the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.