JUNEAU, Alaska – Rear Admiral Nathan Moore, U.S. Coast Guard 17th District, commander, and Neil O’Rourke, Canadian Coast Guard Arctic Region, assistant commissioner, and their staff met in Yellowknife and Hay River, Northwest Territories, Canada the 7-8th of June to discuss joint mission cooperation in the Canada-U.S. trans-boundary waters of the Beaufort Sea portion of the Arctic Ocean.
The collaboration talks included joint planning and operational coordination of maritime search and rescue, mass rescue, navigational safety, waterways management, and marine environmental response.
The two regional leaders signed the newly revised Beaufort Sea Annex to the national Canada-United States Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan, toured the Canadian Coast Guard Hay River Base, discussed Arctic maritime risks and response methods, and established a framework for continued bi-national cooperation in the increasingly important Arctic Region.
Canada and the United States are parties to a long-standing bilateral agreement regarding cooperation in protection of natural resources in Canada-U.S. (CAN-US) trans-boundary areas. Since 1983 the CAN-US Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan (JCP) has included five geographic annexes which outline the scope and terms for planning and coordinating responses to transboundary pollution in the maritime domain. These annexes are the responsibility of the respective regional Coast Guard offices. U.S. Coast Guard District 17 collaborates with Canadian Coast Guard counterparts to maintain and exercise two of the annexes: Annex 4 (Beaufort Sea) and Annex 5 (Dixon Entrance).
The national level JCP was re-signed in August 2017 by the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant and the Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard and is also under revision for 2022.