U.S. Coast Guard talks Arctic at recent summit

A file photo of a U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter assigned to Air Station Kodiak flying over an active volcano near Cold Bay, Alaska, Feb. 7, 2019. (Petty Officer 1st Class Bradley Pigage/U.S. Coast Guard)

With growing demand on its services, the U.S. Coast Guard held its first Coast Guard Arctic Summit this month.

Seventy representatives gathered for the two-day meeting in Anchorage, Alaska.

“The [United States Coast Guard] has150-plus years of history dedicated to the Arctic community and is committed to executing our significant roles and responsibilities as the lead federal agency in this important region,” Rear Adm. Nathan A. Moore, commander, 17th district, said in a news release.

“This first-ever Coast Guard Arctic Summit is an important step to synchronize and strengthen our efforts to meet the large and growing demand for our services across the Arctic.”

The goal of the meeting was to develop recommendations allowing for better coordination and integration across the service on the Arctic, a region of the world becoming more active and requiring more agency response and monitoring.

No one from the U.S. Coast Guard replied to requests from comment this week on the nature of the increased demand for services in the Arctic or what is driving them. But in a news release, the agency said this month’s initiative was part of the U.S. looking to fortify its presence in the North.

“The Coast Guard Arctic Summit is part of a multi-phased approach that allows us to advance our Arctic strategy and strengthen U.S. leadership in the region,” the agency said. 

The summit took place Dec. 6-7.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

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

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

Russia: Ice conditions on Northern Sea Route may pose navigation challenges this season, The Independent Barents Observer

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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