Arctic Coast Guard Forum meeting underway in Russia

Canada is being represented at the meeting in by Assistant Commissioner Neil O’Rourke, the head of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) for the Arctic Region. (Courtesy Canadian Coast Guard)

Coast Guard reps from the eight Arctic countries are currently meeting in Russia to discuss further operational cooperation amongst its members.

The meeting began on October 5.

The Arctic Coast Guard Forum (ACGF) Experts’ Forum includes reps from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States. 

Canada is being represented at the meeting in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, a city in Russia’s Far East, by Assistant Commissioner Neil O’Rourke, the head of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) for the Arctic Region, along with support staff. 

Among the issues being discussed are search and rescue, environmental response and the planning of future exercises.

The Canadian Coast Guard assumed the chair of the ACGF’s Combined Operations Working Group (COWG) this year. The working group’s role is do design table and live exercises so members can better coordinate their operations and share their expertise. 

“The Canadian Coast Guard’s chairship of the COWG presents a valuable opportunity to showcase Canadian leadership with regard to coast guard exercise planning, and to exchange best practice and expertise with our Arctic coast guard partners,” the CCG said in emailed comment. 

The Arctic Coast Guard Forum is an informal organization set up by the eight circumpolar countries in 2015 to work on strengthening coast guard cooperation and help foster responsible maritime activity in the Arctic.

Their last big exercise was Arctic Guardian 2021, hosted by Iceland, where, along with the Arctic Council, members practiced responding to a collision between an oil tanker and a cruise vessel.

The Arctic Coast Guard Forum (ACGF) Experts’ Forum runs until October 8.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada:  44 per cent increase in unique ships entering Canada’s Northwest Passage, says report, Eye on the Arctic

China: Chinese icebreaker sails to North Pole, explores remote Arctic ridge, The Independent Barents Observer

Iceland:  Int’l Arctic emergency marine exercise will lead to better response coordination, say participants, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Lapland Regional Council in Finland rejects Arctic railway, The Independent Barents Observer

Norway: Norway’s new ice-strengthened coast guard ship on the way, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russian nuclear-powered cargo ship returns to Arctic after troublesome year, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Cruise ship arrives in Skagway, Alaska after passenger flown home with COVID-19, CBC News

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning 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 murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

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."

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