Canada-U.S. Perform First Arctic Joint Oil Spill Drill

Multiple Canadian news-sites reported on last month’s first joint oil spill drill between Canadian and U.S. coast guard vessels.  But this is just one aspect of a long history of Canada-U.S. Arctic collaboration.

From yesterday’s The Chronicle Herald:

In a signal of increasing concerns over Arctic shipping, U.S. and Canadian coast guard vessels have conducted their first joint Arctic offshore oil spill drill near the Bering Strait.

Two days of tests of vessels and equipment were scheduled at Port Clarence, a protected bay near the strait, although poor weather limited actual deployment of spill gear to one day, said Coast Guard spokesman Chief Petty Officer Kip Wadlow.

But I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the Arctic Institute caught this news on July 29, along with some other interesting  items :

The U.S. and Canadian coast guards conducted their first Arctic offshore oil spill drill at Port Clarence on July 17 and 18 (AJC). The U.S. Coast Guard cutter SPAR, in the Arctic as part of Arctic Shield 2013, and the Canadian Coast Guard’s icebreaker Sir Wilfrid Laurier tested oil skimming systems as part of the exercise (Coast Guard Alaska). For a summary of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Arctic Shield 2013 activities, see this recent article from Military.com. For more on their Arctic Awareness missions, conducted with scientists from the University of Washington’s Polar Science Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, see Eye on the Arctic.
The U.S Navy and Coast Guard’s preparations for an ice-free Arctic, as well as the United States’ Arctic ambitions, were discussed in articles from Discovery News and the Center for Global Research, respectively. Ships from Russia’s Northern Fleet, including the heavy nuclear cruiser Peter the Great (AIR, in Russian) are also heading to the Arctic, in a deployment timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Georgy Yakovlevich Sedov’s expedition to the North Pole (VOR). Are you curious about which icebreakers have made the trip to the top of the world? The U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Waterways and Ocean Policy released a document this month on the Major Icebreakers of the World, which includes existing and planned vessels and capabilities as well as whether the vessels have traversed the North Pole.
In Iqaluit, from which the Coast Guard monitors shipping throughout all of Canada’s extensive Arctic waters (NN), the city council voted to modernize the Department of Emergency Services’ response systems with a series of six upgrades that will help better tackle health and fire emergencies (NN).
And for more on the value of such joint oil drills, check out the 2011 Niagara International Moot Court competition question, which dealt with the thorny international legal issues the Arctic poses for Canada and the United States.  (Note:  Want a quick summary, check out one or two of the competition’s briefs.)
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