ARCHIVED - 4. Our Services to Clients

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The following sub-sections outline the services provided to each client in terms of the planned and actual days provided. It must be kept in mind however, that the number of operational days that are planned and delivered are as much a function of the available budget as they are of the availability of vessels.

It must also be noted that the information contained in the following sections represents the support provided by Fleet to these clients and should not be interpreted as representative of the entire suite of services that a particular client receives.  For example, in certain cases, it is more efficient for Aids and Waterways Services to be delivered by contractors.  These contracted services are not monitored by Fleet and do not form part of the information illustrated in the following sections.

Providing SAR Services
Providing SAR Services
Photo: QC Region

4.1 Canadian Coast Guard

4.1.1 Aids and Waterways Services

Aids and Waterways Services (AWS) ensures the safety and viability of shipping channels and the protection of the public right to navigation. The Fleet supports the AWS by placing, lifting, checking, and maintaining an extensive system of floating and fixed aids to navigation (both afloat and ashore).

A variety of large and small multitasked vessels and helicopters maintain this network. Some aids are year-round, while others are seasonal, which means the aids are lifted for the winter season to prevent damage by ice and are repositioned at the beginning of the navigational season. The fleet must be capable of:

  • Reaching aids in restricted, shallow and ice-infested waters;
  • Serving as a platform to carry and service buoys and related equipment, and for construction of aids to navigational aids; and
  • Supplying air capability to reach aids not accessible by boat or road, especially in remote areas of the Arctic.

The success of this activity is highly dependent on competent maritime professionals. Accurate navigation is key, as placing aids often requires vessels to manoeuvre close to shoals, rocks, and reefs. For this reason, extensive local knowledge and specific training are required.  Seagoing personnel also deploy, recover and maintain aids, verify the positions and operation of floating aids, keep records of operations, update data on positions and characteristics of aids as required, and conduct maintenance on fixed and floating aids.

CCGS F.C.G. Smith
CCGS F.C.G. Smith, Channel Survey and Sounding Vessel
Photo: QC Region

Fleet’s Performance

In 2006-2007, some 3,154 operational days were delivered, of which 75% were in the main commercial maritime route in Canada, the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway.

Graph 2 illustrates the service trend from 2002-2003 to 2006-2007. Over this period, the Fleet has delivered a level of service close to that planned, with an average of 91%. Also, the planned operational days decreased by 33% and actual days delivered decreased by 28%.

Graph 2: Service to Aids and Waterways, 2002-2003 to 2006-2007 (# Operational Days)

The key reason for this downward trend in demand for Fleet services related to this activity is a combination of reduced budgets, introduction of new technologies, and service efficiency improvements (including the use of contractors), all of which have combine to reduce the need for Fleet services over this time period.

4.1.2 Icebreaking Services

CCG provides icebreaking and related services to facilitate the safe and timely movement of maritime traffic through and around ice-covered and ice-infested Canadian waters, for the benefit of industry and the Canadian economy. 

The Fleet provides crews trained to operate specialized and multitasked vessels in support of this vital service. The icebreakers must be able to escort ships through ice-covered waters, free vessels trapped in ice, allow access to ice-infested harbours, provide ice information and reduce the risk of flooding by both monitoring and breaking up ice jams. Icebreakers also carry helicopters which are forward deployed to conduct ice reconnaissance flights and to locate open water and leads for effective icebreaking operations.

Canada has two icebreaking seasons: from December to April in the south, from the Great Lakes to Newfoundland and Labrador Coasts, including the St. Lawrence Seaway and Gulf; and in the Arctic, both Western and Eastern Arctic, from June to November. The Pacific Coast has no icebreaking activities due to its clement weather. Beginning of June, seven icebreakers are deployed from the southern regions, after completing their winter season operation, to the Arctic for the summer season. 

Fleet’s Performance

During 2006-2007, some 1,813 operational days were delivered by the Fleet (or 78% of the planned service) for icebreaking, principally driven by:

  • In the Arctic, a significant increase in dedicated as opposed to opportunity science, particularly for OGDs, such as Environment Canada, and Canadian universities;
  • In the South, lighter than expected ice conditions allowed more maintenance time for the large icebreakers. For example, CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent preparation for the International Polar Year; and
  • Icebreakers responded to Search and Rescue and Environmental Response incidents.

Bringing the Media Spotlight to the Arctic

Media interest in the Government of Canada’s presence in the Arctic has increased recently, primarily as a result of climate change and Arctic sovereignty discussions.

The CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent helped the Coast Guard showcase its involvement in Arctic activities when the ship hosted the first live satellite broadcast ever done from a vessel. CBC’s The National was televised live from August 1 to the 4, 2006, as the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent made its way through the Northwest Passage.

As Canada’s most powerful icebreaker and as its most versatile Arctic research vessel, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent was an obvious choice for the assignment. Throughout the CBC broadcasts, the ship demonstrated its effectiveness as an instrument of federal presence in the Canadian Arctic while continuing to deliver its full suite of routine on-water missions

The two first reasons explain in part why both planned and delivered service decreased by approximately 7% over the past three fiscal years.

Graph 3 illustrates time dedicated to icebreaking services by zone, with 42% of service delivered in the St. Lawrence Seaway and 23% in the Canadian Arctic.

Graph 3: Service to Icebreaking by Zone, 2006-2007 (% of Operational days)

CCGS Des Groseilliers
CCGS Des Groseilliers, Medium Icebreaker
Photo: QC Region

4.1.3 Search and Rescue Services

Canada’s Search and Rescue program is a cooperative effort of federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments. The CCG’s SAR service, delivered in conjunction with its partner the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, is responsible for approximately 5.3 million square kilometres, beginning 800 miles offshore in the Pacific, 1,000 nautical miles in the Atlantic, and stretching all the way from the Canada – U.S. border in the south to the North Pole.

The primary SAR service is delivered by vessels and maritime professionals dedicated to this purpose, positioned at various locations across Canada. These vessels are specially designed and constructed to meet the rigorous demands inherent to providing marine SAR capabilities and response in Canadian waters. In addition, the entire fleet is multitasked to provide SAR response in addition to their other duties.

Key SAR tasks conducted by seagoing personnel are:

  • Conducting visual and electronic searches for vessels and survivors, day and night, by air and by sea, in various weather conditions;
  • Providing a platform for rescue personnel and vessels to the scene and allowing search operations to be conducted;
  • Managing complex searches and acting as On-Scene Coordinators;
  • Recovering survivors from other vessels, the sea or the shore;
  • Transferring injured persons to shore, helicopters, or to vessels;
  • Providing shelter, amenities and advance first aid to survivors.
  • Providing radio communication facilities for emergency operations, and to enable vessels to communicate with shore-based radio stations, other vessels and rescue craft;
  • Providing fire-fighting capability on board vessels and at shore facilities to save life; and
  • Providing towing or other services to vessels in need of assistance when life is threatened.

Immediate Response Saves Lives

Shortly after midnight on March 22, 2006, B.C. Ferry’s Queen of the North ran aground while en route from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy. The Captain gave orders to abandon ship, and issued a distress call.  CCG MCTS relayed the Mayday call and advised the JRCC in Victoria. Several resources were requested to assist in the SAR operation, and the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the CCGC Point Henry, the CCGS Ricker, the CCGC Kitimat II and the CCGS Vector were promptly tasked. 

When it received the distress call, the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier was only 18 miles from the sinking ferry. What could have been an enormous tragedy was, for the most part, averted, with 99 of the 101 passengers safely recovered by local residents, and the Canadian Coast Guard Auxilary and CCG.

Following the incident, the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier headed toward Victoria for scheduled exercises.  As it made its way south, the vessel responded to another SAR call, recovering 10 persons from an overturned boat. In port, officers met with investigators to report on the massive Queen of the North rescue effort.

The Minister of DFO personally called Captain Mark Taylor to thank him, the crew of the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and all CCG staff involved for their efforts.


Fleet’s Performance

During 2006-2007, some 105% of operational days were delivered to SAR compared to planned days. Table 4 demonstrates that 92% of SAR time is for vessel availability in each SAR Zone and readiness to respond/react within a predetermined timeframe (30 minutes for primary SAR vessels). This vessel operational readiness is usually multitasked with another client.  Other notable SAR-specific activities include 616 days on patrols, 417 days on incidents response, and 168 days on training and exercises.

CCGC Westport, SAR Lifeboat and DND Cormorant Helicopter
CCGC Westport, SAR Lifeboat and DND Cormorant Helicopter
Photo: MA Region

Over the past five years, planned service has decreased by 32% (driven primarily by our ability to multitask SAR), while actual service increased by 7%. The Pacific Region accounts for the highest proportion of SAR time at 34%. This can be explained by the region’s year-round navigation season and its larger geographical area.

Table 4: Days delivered and Percentage of Service by SAR Activity, 2006-2007
SAR Activities#%
Available and Ready to Respond 14,851 92
Patrols 616 4
Incidents Response 417 3
Training and Exercises 168 1
Total 16,052 100

4.1.4 Maritime Security Services

The Fleet supports the Government of Canada’s maritime security priorities by providing platforms and maritime expertise to security and law enforcement agencies.  For example, the CCG and RCMP have established the joint Maritime Security Enforcement Teams program with armed on-water patrols on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, where the CCG manages, maintains, and operates the vessels while the RCMP provides law enforcement expertise and personnel on board. 

Four midshore patrol vessels are being built specifically for the MSET program on the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway, the first of which is expected to be operational in 2010.  Until CCG takes delivery of the four midshore patrol vessels, CCG has dedicated four vessels to the program; in winter, teams operate from icebreakers where and when required.

CCGS Louis M. Lauzier
CCGS Louis M. Lauzier, Mid-Shore Patrol Vessel
Photo: QC Region

Seagoing personnel perform a variety of duties in support of Maritime Security services. These include:

  • Observing, reporting and recording on maritime security events and organized crime activities;
  • Monitoring and patrolling vast areas of ocean, including the Great Lakes –
    St. Lawrence Seaway, coastal and international waters, and discouraging threats and illegal activities;
  • Patrolling closed and boundary areas and conducting inspections at sea with our partners to ensure compliance with all regulations;
  • Serving as a command platform and secure communications hub for officers in charge of any marine enforcement activity;
  • Conducting routine intervention of vessels from rigid hull inflatable boats carried on board; and
  • Providing an operationally ready response capability for maritime security incidents.
Fleet’s Performance

In 2006-2007, some 1,886 operational days were delivered, representing 92% of the number planned. For fiscal years 2003-2004 through 2006-2007, additional funding to support this role was provided to the Fleet as an interim measure. As a result of this additional funding, the security services delivered increased by 41%, in response to client demand (see Graph 4).

Graph 4: Service to Maritime Security, 2004-2005 to 2006-2007  (# of Operational Days)

4.1.5 Environmental Response Services

CCG is the lead federal agency for ship-source oil spill response; its role consists of mitigating marine pollution and oil spills, and demonstrating due diligence by the Canadian and global marine community in the prevention of pollution.

In Canada, south of 60°N latitude, the private sector is responsible for environmental response with the CCG providing federal monitoring, oversight and inspection roles. If the CCG determines that the private sector response is inadequate, CCG will assume control, coordinate the response and, if necessary, conduct actual containment and recovery operations. Above the North of 60°N latitude, CCG is the primary responder.

Fleet’s Performance

In 2006-2007, some 155% of the planned Fleet service was delivered. Even though this percentage seems quite high, this represents only 68 out of 44 planned operational days. Twenty-two days were dedicated to environmental response incidents and 18 days to training and exercises. The demand for
these services has gradually increased since 2002-2003.

Responding to an Oil Spill

Following a spill notification, a crew uses specialized pollution countermeasure equipment in a response. A crane lowers an oil containment boom, as shown in the picture of CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Made of heavy gauge rubber, the boom is designed to float on one side while an underwire curtain with small weights and heavy wire on the other side keeps the boom upright.

The ship also has a small floating pod on a boom on the starboard side. This supports one end of the oil containment boom away from the vessel so that the ship can slowly move through an oil slick and surround it with the containment boom. Once the slick is surrounded, and oil dispersal is prevented, clean up can commence. “Slick-lickers” mounted on barges reach over the containment boom, remove the oil, and transfer it to barrels on board the barges.

CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier
CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier, High Endurance
Multi-tasked Vessels/Light Icebreaker
Photo: PA Region

4.1.6 Marine Communications and Traffic Services

The Marine Communications and Traffic Services provide maritime distress and safety communications, conducts vessel screenings, regulates vessel traffic movement, and provides information systems and public correspondence on a 24/7 basis. This service is delivered through a network of 22 centres and supporting communications towers across Canada.

Fleet has a generally limited role in support of MCTS as reflected in the number of operational days below, since the majority of MCTS sites can be accessed by land for regular maintenance and inspection. Seagoing personnel typically support MCTS by transferring materials and fuel from the ship to the repeater sites.

Bell 212-1
A Bell 212-1 supporting MCTS remote areas

Photo: PA Region

Fourteen of the British Columbia sites (into the Queen Charlotte Islands and central coastal areas) are exceptions as they are in the mountains and accessible only by helicopter. Consequently, the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier and one helicopter Bell 212-1 are used most often. Fleet also supports remote communications site activation and deactivation in the Arctic.

Fleet’s Performance

In 2006-2007, some 37 operational days were delivered, representing 105% of the operational days planned. Over the five years from 2002-2003 to 2006-2007, actual operational days have tended to exceed planned days.

4.2 Department of Fisheries and Oceans

4.2.1 Science

The Fleet supports the Science program of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, providing trained crews on board both specialized and multitasked vessels such as research trawlers, fishing vessels, hydrographic survey vessels, oceanographic vessels, and icebreakers.

The crews support scientists and technicians in a variety of specialized areas such as:

  • Fishing for a variety of commercial species;
  • Conducting surveys on acoustics, hydrography, geophysics, marine species stock assessment, and benthic habitats and organisms;
  • Conducting marine mammal and seabird enumeration, identification, tracking and bioassessment;
  • Collecting plankton, larvae and phytoplankton;
  • Collecting water samples for marine chemistry studies;
  • Taking bottom sediment samples and coring;
  • Collecting data verifying empirical models for water mass structure and circulation, currents and tidal propagation and prediction; and
  • Conducting remote camera studies of benthic habitats and organisms.
Fleet’s Performance

From 2002-2003 to 2006-2007, planned service decreased by 17%, while actual service delivered decreased by only 7%. Over this period, Fleet delivered over 18,000 operational days in support of on-water science.

During 2006-2007, most of the Science research supported fisheries (42%) and oceans (30%), followed by hydrography (18%), as shown in Graph 5.

Graph 5: Service by Science Programs, 2006-2007 (% of Operational Days)

Discoveries in the Bay of Fundy

In July 2006, the CCGS Hudson carried a team of scientific experts on a voyage of discovery that revealed new life in the deepest reaches of the Gulf of Maine. A stretch of ocean approximately 400 kilometres from Halifax and 200 kilometres off Cape Sable Island was studied.

The goal was to help scientists gain a better understanding of the organisms that inhabit various marine environments, particularly at deeper depths. As a result of the work done on the CCGS Hudson, scientists discovered deep-sea fauna that had never before been observed. Even more incredible was the discovery of a potentially new species that has yet to be identified

In total, 96% of planned services in 2006-2007 were delivered, compared to 76% in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006, during which extended equipment failures were experienced. Since stock assessments can only be carried out from dedicated trawlers, and three of these are in the process of being replaced2, lost time cannot be made up for from other CCG Vessels.

Of 90 resource surveys conducted during the period 2001-2006 in the Atlantic Zone, only two were not done; the 2006 3Ps survey3 was not carried out due to potable water problems on the CCGS Teleost and CCGS Wilfred Templeman, and the 2003 Gulf multi-species survey was not carried out due to a fire on the CCGS Alfred Needler. In fact, during the same period, 33 of the 90 resource surveys were affected by mechanical breakdowns, most of which resulted in reduced sets and increased stock assessment uncertainty.

Remotely-Operated Platform
A Remotely-Operated Platform for Oceans Science (ROPOS) is used to explore the ocean floor as deep as 2,500 meters beneath the surface
Photo: MA Region

In order to stabilize the situation, CCG has begun the procurement process for three trawlers, and, as a bridging mechanism, while awaiting arrival of the new trawlers:

  • Commenced a vessel life extension refit of one trawler;
  • Delayed the decommissioning of another trawler; and
  • Increased refit and maintenance spending, as well as planned maintenance periods, on all trawlers.

Clearly, given that these unique vessels are beyond their life expectancy, replacement is the only real solution, as presented in Section 3.

4.2.2. Fisheries and Aquaculture Management

The Fleet provides significant support to DFO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Management program, consisting of enforcement and surveillance activities in Canadian waters for the Conservation and Protection Program. It also provides enhanced presence at sea in the regulatory areas of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization’s (NAFO), to stop illegal fishing by foreign fleets in international waters, on the 282,500 square-kilometre Grand Banks of Newfoundland.

The CCGS Arrow Post Foils Poachers

On the morning of February 17, 2006, the CCGS Arrow Post was conducting a Species at Risk Act patrol in the southern Queen Charlotte Islands. The crew conducted an inspection aboard a suspected abalone poaching vessel.

The CCG officers reported their suspicions to DFO officials. Three days later, abalone was transferred from the suspected vessel to a pick-up truck in Port Edward, B.C. The vehicle was stopped and suspects arrested.

With 11,000 endangered northern abalones caught, this poaching arrest is the largest ever in Canada for these primitive marine molluscs, and the penalties handed down to the three suspects is the stiffest for abalone poaching in Canada’s history.

Specialized fisheries patrol vessels (including armed vessels) are used in the near-shore and offshore areas of Canada. Multitasked vessels with helicopter support are provided as required. CCG maritime professionals support fisheries officers in performing enforcement duties, including:

  • Monitoring and patrolling vast areas of coastline and providing a federal presence in Canadian waters, thereby deterring threats and illegal activities;
  • Helping to ensure compliance with Canadian laws in Canadian jurisdiction;
  • Supporting fisheries interdiction activities;
  • Patrolling closed and boundary areas and conducting inspections at sea;
  • Serving as a command platform and secure communications hub for Conservation and Protection enforcement activity;
  • Conducting general and covert surveillance and monitoring various fisheries;
  • Recovering, seizing, storing and transporting illegal fishing gear; and
  • Checking licenses, logbooks, catch, and gear. Activities may include inspections of fixed and mobile gear types, and disclosure of poaching and/or other means of illegal fishing.

CCGS Leonard J. Cowley
CCGS Leonard J. Cowley facing storm with winds of 70 knots and seas of 47 feet.
Photo: NL Region

Fleet’s Performance

During 2006-2007, some 3,957 operational days were delivered. A consistent trend has been maintained from 2002-2003, with an average of 85% of planned service being delivered. This shortfall can be explained primarily by almost 600 additional days in maintenance and refit. Two offshore patrol vessels and three midshore patrol vessels, dedicated to Fisheries and Aquaculture Management, are more than 25 years old and identified for replacement as a priority (see Section 3).

Table 5 indicates the various patrols undertaken in 2006-2007, mostly in Canadian waters, and in NAFO regulatory areas. The administrative category includes all the time taken for preparing court files, such as compiling data, preparing enforcement patrol reports, written communications with crown counsel and court preparation and appearance. The demand for fleet support is intensifying primarily in support of NAFO patrols, with an increase of the equivalent of one full year over the past four years.

Table 5: Service to FAM by Patrol Type, 2006-2007
(% of Operational Days)
Canadian Waters 57.8
NAFO 34.1
Other Patrol 5.4
Administrative (including court appearances) 1.8
International Waters4 0.8
Aboriginal Fisheries 0.1

CCGS Cygnus
CCGS Cygnus, an Offshore Patrol Vessel, with a European Union Vessel, the Jean Charcot, during a NAFO Patrol.
Photo: NL Region

4.3 Other Government Departments and Agencies

The Fleet provides maritime services (vessels, helicopters, expertise, personnel and infrastructure) on behalf of, or in support of OGDs in the achievement of their specific maritime priorities. These include the Canada Border Services Agency, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Environment Canada (EC), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the Department of National Defence (DND), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Transport Canada (TC) and others.

CCGS Des Groseillers
CCGS Des Groseilliers during the annual resupply mission to EC’s Eureka Weather Station, located on the west coast of Ellsemere Island, some 600 miles south of the North Pole

Client requirements dictate the type of vessel needed. For example, EC, the NSERC and NRCan need scientific vessels to support their activities, while the RCMP uses a variety of vessels, such as icebreakers and air cushion vessels. Fleet is responsible for on-water operations in the support of OGDs

CCGS Teleost
CCGS Teleost, Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel

Photo: NL Region

Fleet’s Performance

During 2006-2007, some 724 operational days delivered were 10% more than originally planned due primarily to urgent unplanned requirements, at the request of the clients.

Graph 6 shows that the service increased annually from 2002-2003 to 2006-2007 by an average of 10%, with a sudden decline in 2006-2007. This decrease is due mainly to lower demand, particularly from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council which, over four years, reduced its requested operational days from 140 to 80.  Service delivered to Environment Canada, the second highest user, remained stable at an average of 56 days.

Graph 6: Service to Other Government Departments and Agencies, 2002-2003 to 2006-2007 (# of Operational Days)

Other service categories include the Canada Border Services Agency, the RCMP, DND, TC, provincial and territorial governments, and the St. Lawrence Seaway. In total, this group received an average of 206 operational days over the last five fiscal years.

Fast Rescue Craft
Fast Rescue Craft

Operation Lancaster

Operation Lancaster, a Canadian sovereignty operation, took place in Canada’s Eastern Arctic from August 12 to 25, 2006.  It was directed by DND’s Canada Command and executed by Joint Task Force North, with the participation of other DND commands and OGDs.  The combined land and sea operations included an integrated fisheries patrol in the Davis Strait that concluded in Iqaluit and was conducted by the Canadian Navy and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The CCGS Henry Larsen played a major role in the operation, including serving as host ship for the Prime Minister, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard.

CCGS Henry Larsen
CCGS Henry Larsen with the HMCS Montreal, a Canadian Navy Vessel
Photo: C&A Region


2 The trawlers, medium ships, are more than 25 years old (see Table 3 on Age of Fleet Vessels).

3 The 3Ps survey consists of stock assessing fish (for example, cod or with founder) in the 3Ps sub-division of Northern Atlantic Fisheries Organisation, off southern Newfoundland.

4 Off Pacific and Maritimes Coasts

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