Thursday, August 6, 2015

Canada to Map Arctic Sea Floor

By Mark Edward Nero

The Canadian government announced July 30 that it is setting aside more than $22 million for a series of projects that it says will “lay the foundation” for “safe and secure” shipping in the Arctic via improvements in northern shipping.

The Government of Canada, as part of its Economic Action Plan 2015, is investing $22.7 million over five years on a cash basis to provide a foundation to begin addressing the evolving needs of mariners in the North.

This suite of targeted investments, the government has said, will support the development of a long-term strategy for the Arctic and be aligned with current efforts to promote safe shipping and strengthen Canada’s ability to respond to marine pollution incidents.

Some of the money is earmarked for the purchase and installation of four multi-beam sonar systems aboard Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers for sea-floor surveying.

“Our enhanced ability to map Canada’s Arctic waters will result in better charts and navigational information, leading to improved safety for mariners in the North,” Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said in a news release.

The investments include:
$12.1 million over five years on a cash basis for the Canadian Hydrographic Service, and $900,000 ongoing to procure hydrographic equipment and increase the surveying capacity for key Arctic routes.

$5.6 million over four years for the Canadian Coast Guard to complete four reviews of marine navigation services and infrastructure, including aids to navigation.

$3.9 million over five years, also to the Canadian Coast Guard, and $500,000 ongoing to enhance the search and rescue capacity in Arctic coastal communities.

$1 million over five years Transport Canada to engage local and Aboriginal communities on the marine transportation system in the North.