The government of Canada is taking additional measures to help enhance safety of navigation and emergency response in Canadian waters.
The measures were announced this week by Minister of Transport, the Honorable Marc Garneau and awarded as part of Canada’s historic US $1.2 billion Oceans Protection Plan.
First, the Government of Canada will provide CAD 110 million over five years for the Canadian Hydrographic Service to chart 23 high-priority commercial ports and near-shore areas along all three coasts to create safer navigation for mariners.
The government says the new investment will fill important gaps in critical areas across the country that currently have limited and out-of-date navigational information, and give mariners high-resolution electronic navigation charts, navigational products and data for increased safety. To date, surveys of eight out of the 23 ports have been completed.
In addition, the Government of Canada will be adding seven additional coastal communities (nine total) to test a new information system showing where ship traffic is located—and other essential maritime information—as part of the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative.
Through the CAD 62.5 million invested in the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative, the Government of Canada will make CAD 9.8 million available over two years to support the implementation of these pilot project communities and work with them to develop, test and evaluate the new system.
The government has awarded an initial contract to Hercules SLR of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, to supply the Canadian Coast Guard with two vessel-based emergency tow kits, plus equipment and training. This initial contract is valued at more than $180,000, and is part of a plan to install tow kits and related equipment on all large Canadian Coast Guard vessels, including five vessels on the West Coast. The initial contract includes options for up to 62 additional tow kits and related equipment.
“The selection of a contractor to build a system that can provide near-real time data on local ship traffic will be one of the largest agile procurement projects in the Government of Canada’s history. Indigenous and coastal communities, Transport Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard will work together to award the contract,” the government said in a press release.
The government is also allocating $7.2 million over five years in the Marine Weather Information Services Demonstration Project. The project will deploy five smart buoys (two on the west coast and three on the east coast) that will produce data for tailored weather forecasts. These “smart buoys” will have innovative high resolution weather prediction systems that will enhance marine forecasting and improve marine navigation and safety for mariners.
“Our commitment to partnering with Indigenous Peoples and collaborating with coastal communities to protect Canada’s coastal ecosystems is clear and unequivocal,” commented Transport Minister, the Honorable Marc Garneau. “The marine safety and navigational improvements from the Oceans Protection Plan announced today will help us put safeguards in place for all vessels, including those carrying petroleum products overseas. We are determined to safeguard Canada’s waters – and know that a strong economy and a clean environment go hand-in-hand to benefit all Canadians.”
“Safe marine navigation and ensuring vessels can quickly be removed from trouble are essential to enhancing marine safety and preventing potential marine pollution incidents,” said Honorable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. “This investment in the Canadian Hydrographic Service will help provide up-to-date navigation information in critical areas across the country, and these new tow kits will give the Canadian Coast Guard greater ability to tow vessels out of distress in emergency situations. Through the Oceans Protection Plan we are making our oceans safer, cleaner and healthier.”
The Government of Canada has already announced initiatives worth more than $600 million under the Oceans Protection Plan.