US-Canada Ice Breaking Agreement Continues


A renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Canadian and United States Coast Guard has ensured that vital icebreaking operations in the Great Lakes region continue.

Julie Gascon, Assistant Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard’s Central and Arctic Region was joined by Rear Admiral Joanna Nunan, Commander, United States Coast Guard Ninth District to sign the updated MoU.

The renewed agreement strengthens the mutual commitment for ensuring vital icebreaking operations in the Great Lakes region including the main connecting navigable waterways, Georgian Bay and the St. Lawrence River from Tibbetts Point, New York, to as far east as Cornwall, Ontario.

Julie Gascon, Assistant Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard’s Central and Arctic Region, said: “With our partners at the United States Coast Guard we are truly one team supporting the safe, economical and efficient movement of ships in the heart of North America.

“Our updated Memorandum of Understanding allows us to better share information, equipment and personnel between countries. By working together we ensure scheduled vessel traffic can move through the shipping channels and into and out of community harbours.”

The icebreaking MoU authorizes the exchange of personnel on Coast Guard icebreakers.

Temporary exchanges, when conditions allow, will enhance familiarity with each other's procedures when cooperating in shared waters, often on joint missions.

Read a paper by Arild Moe, Senior Research Fellow, Fridtjof Nansen Institute, on the future of shipping on the Northern Sea Route

Rear Admiral Joanna Nunan, Commander, US Coast Guard Ninth District, commented: “Our partnership with the Canadian Coast Guard is crucial for our mutual success on the Great Lakes and surrounding waterways.

“As the beginning of this winter’s severe conditions have demonstrated, we need to work together to provide seamless service to our communities and keep commerce flowing.”

The truly bi-national nature of icebreaking duties is evident through recent missions on the Great Lakes.

CCGS Griffon cleared shipping routes to Erie, Pennsylvania, and to Conneaut and Toledo, Ohio this month.

Meanwhile, USCGC Alder worked on icebreaking in Thunder Bay, Ontario and USCGC Morro Bay assisted ships to Port Colborne and Nanticoke, Ontario.

As well, in a concentrated effort, CCGS Samuel Risley joined forces with USCG cutters Neah Bay, Bristol Bay and Morro Bay to break up ice jams that posed a high risk of flooding for communities on the St. Clair River particularly at East China Township, Michigan and St. Clair Township, Ontario.

Icebreaking is one of the multiple mission areas where the collaborative Canadian-US partnership has grown.

Similar agreements also exist for search and rescue, environmental response, maritime security and marine communications and traffic services.

Read more: A 200 metre-long Marshall Island flagged freighter, the Federal Biscay, was recently released from the ice at the Snell lock in the St. Lawrence Seaway

Daily Email Newsletter

Sign up to our daily email newsletter to receive the latest news from Port Technology International.

Supplier Directory

Find out how to get listed

Webinar Series

Find out how to attend

Latest Stories

Cookie Policy. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.