The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources today express their best wishes to the crew, scientists and other partners who will take part in the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Louis S. St-Laurent's four-month mission up the Atlantic coast and into the Arctic. The CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent leaves for the Arctic following a refit allowing it to safely travel to Resolute, Nunavut, in Canada's Northwest Passage.
"The Canadian Arctic is central to Canada's heritage and a strategic piece of our future; we are committed to sustaining and protecting this valued part of our country," said Minister Ashfield. "The Canadian Coast Guard, its exceptional fleet and skilled personnel are instrumental in our government's successful arctic missions as they lay the groundwork for our Northern Strategy."
The CCGS St. Laurent's primary mission will be surveying and mapping Canada's continental shelf out beyond 200 nautical miles. This is the fourth extended continental shelf survey and will be undertaken jointly with the United States Coast Guard Cutter Healy, which is collecting seismic and bathymetric data that will further aid navigation and scientific knowledge of Canada's arctic waters.
In collaboration with Natural Resources Canada and Foreign Affairs & International Trade Canada, the Canadian Hydrographic Service is assembling valuable data needed to prepare Canada's submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Canada ratified the Convention in November 2003 and will make its submission by December 2013.
"Our Government is strongly pursuing international recognition of the full extent of Canada's continental shelf," said Minister Oliver. "The research conducted by the Extended Continental Shelf Program will be the cornerstone of our submission and determine with precision where Canada may exercise its sovereign rights."
In addition to providing assistance to commercial shipping, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent will serve as the Government of Canada platform for important scientific work at various stations en route and while in the Arctic. That includes work supporting a multi-national project studying the oceanography of the Beaufort Gyre to understand accumulation and release of fresh water, as well as to enhance understanding of environmental change in the Arctic.
The CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent will complete its Arctic program with support to any late season shipping, until mid-November. The vessel is anticipated to arrive back at St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, on November 18.