Greenland and Denmark finalize cooperation agreement on marine pollution response

Icebergs float along the eastern coast of Greenland near the settlement of Kulusuk in 2019. Greenland and Denmark say their new marine pollution cooperation agreement will help protect Greenland’s waters. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)
Greenland and Denmark have made an agreement on environmental preparedness to better respond to environmental incidents in northern waters.

The agreement will allow Denmark’s Armed Forces and Greenland’s government to share pollution control resources.

“I am very pleased with the new cooperation agreement between the Armed Forces and (Greenland’s) Self-Government,” said Jess Svane, Greenland’s Minster for Business, Energy, Research and Labour, in a news release on Tuesday. 

“The agreement means that the equipment and capabilities that Greenland Oil Spill Response Ltd. has, for the common good. The marine environment and the protection of our nature are always a top priority for the Greenlandic Government.”

(Greenland Oil Spill Response Ltd is a company set up to respond to oil spills in Greenlandic waters.)

Storing resources
A 2018 cold weather exercise by Greenland Oil Spill Response Ltd. The new agreement between Denmark and Greenland will let the Danish Armed Forces store equipment in the company’s storage facilities. (Greenland Oil Spill Response Ltd.)

The agreement will not change the division of responsibilities between Denmark and Greenland, but will allow the two entities to have access to each others pollution control equipment, training exercises and storage facilities.

One example under the agreement is that the Danish Armed Forces will be able to store equipment in Greenland’s oil spill response facilities to help fight oil pollution in waters around Greenland, while the Greenlandic government would be able to call on Danish Armed Forces units and expertise for support in responding to marine pollution in their area.

Denmark’s Defense Minister Trine Bramsen, (pictured right with U.S. Secretary for Defense Mark Esper at a NATO meeting in 2019) says Greenland’s environment requires special attention. (Virginia Mayo/AP/The Canadian Press)

“Protecting the marine environment is extremely important,” said Denmark’s Defense Minister Trine Bramsen.

“Not least when it comes to the unique nature around Greenland. It is our responsibility to ensure that we leave nature in good condition. With this agreement, we see the value of close cooperation between Greenland and Denmark . With the use of our shared knowledge and resources, we reach further.”

Write to Eilis Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories around the North:

Canada: New “Frankenstein” shipping fuel could further pollute the Arctic, environmental groups say, Radio Canada International

Finland: Finland investigates oil leak risks from Baltic Sea shipwrecks, Yle News

Greenland/Denmark: COVID-19 could delay Kingdom of Denmark’s Arctic strategy, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: New guideline launched for Arctic-specific risk assessment in shipping, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Iceland to restrict heavy fuel oil use in territorial waters, Eye on the Arctic

Russia: Shipping figures rising on Russia’s Northern Sea Route, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Carnival Corporation ships switch to cleaner fuel on Arctic cruises, Radio Canada International

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is a journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North. Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the violent death of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on violence and trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City. Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards. Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China." Twitter: @Arctic_EQ Email: eilis.quinn(at)

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