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Quebec Bulletin
October-November 2015/Volume 18/Number 5


Resupplying Northern Communities: the Canadian Coast Guard, an Important Partner

The NGCC Des Groseilliers escorting the MVCamilla Desgagnés.
Lucie Lefrançois
When the ice is very thick and dense, the escorted ship must travel as close behind the icebreaker as is safe to ensure that the gap behind the icebreaker does not close before the escorted ship can sail through it. These manoeuvres require extreme vigilance on the part of the commander and his crew.

August 27, 2015 will remain a memorable date for the community of Kugaaruk, Nunavut. Without the Canadian Coast Guard’s help, this community would have been caught off guard. Indeed, it was looking forward to its annual delivery of goods transported by the MV Camilla Desgagnés. The shipment included more than 5,000 cubic metres of a variety of essential products, such as building materials, heavy equipment, vehicles and household items of all kinds.

Despite extremely difficult ice conditions, the MV Camilla Desgagnés was able to make its delivery thanks to the escort operation and hard work of the crew of the CCGS Des Groseilliers who managed to open a safe passage. The people of Kugaaruk heaved a collective sigh of relief when the commercial carrier came into sight.

Each year, Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers perform escort operations that are instrumental in resupplying northern communities.

Hicham Ayoun
Canadian Coast Guard

Optimization of Marine Communications and Traffic Services in Quebec

Escoumins MCTS Centre.
Escoumins MCTS Centre.

In June 2015, the Marine Communication and Traffic Services Centres (MCTS Centres) consolidated their operations. Services provided by the Rivière-au-Renard centre were merged with those of des Escoumins, and services provided in Longueuil were merged with those in the City of Québec.

The Canadian Coast Guard took advantage of these mergers to modernize the MCTS centres in des Escoumins and Québec. In particular, it installed various communication systems in its facilities:

  • Officers can operate the CCS (Communication Control System) from their workstations to monitor all radio-communication activities at local or remote sites;
  • NAVTEX (radioteletype) is the system used to broadcast marine safety information by means of narrow band direct-printing telegraphy;
  • A CMB (Continuous Marine Broadcast) is transmitted over VHF radio channels to provide information on weather conditions and Notices to Shipping.
Quebec MCTS Centre.
Quebec MCTS Centre.

The purpose of these improvements, which make full use of technological innovations, is to enhance the operational efficiency of services delivered to the public while reducing service interruptions.

The Canadian Coast Guard had to overcome major challenges to complete this modernization process. The key challenges had to do with avoiding any disruption to MCTS operations until the last moment and adapting various obsolete technologies and systems to more recent ones. Because of strategic planning and the outstanding efficiency of all parties involved, the Canadian Coast Guard can say “Mission accomplished!”.

Sébastien Vincent
Canadian Coast Guard