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Government of Canada strengthens environmental response and rescue capability in Vancouver

By BCShippingNews 22 July 2015
Increased co-operation, funding for additional improvements to capabilities...

The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence, accompanied by the Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, P.C., Q.C., Member of Parliament for Delta-Richmond East and Minister of National Revenue, on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today announced a significant series of enhancements to the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG)’s resources in Vancouver Harbour, including further Department of National Defence (DND) / Canadian Armed Forces support to the Canadian Coast Guard Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) Station located in downtown Vancouver. Increased co-operation between the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and CCG will boost the latter’s capability to respond to marine pollution incidents and conduct search-and-rescue operations in the Vancouver Harbour area.

The IRB Station operates out of Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Discovery, a facility operated by the Royal Canadian Navy. As part of the coordination between the Navy and the Coast Guard, HMCS Discovery will set aside office space for a new CCG Environmental Response office. A CCG Pollution Response Vessel will also be docked at HMCS Discovery to provide a base of operations for CCG crews responding to reports of pollution in the high vessel-traffic area of Vancouver Harbour. This is the first time that a Coast Guard Pollution Response Vessel will be stationed in Vancouver Harbour on a full time basis.

In addition, the operation of the IRB Station at HMCS Discovery – normally open from May to Labour Day – will be extended to Thanksgiving weekend.

Quick Facts

• Additional measures of support to the IRB Station include: 
- increasing the number of Naval Reservists at HMCS Discovery in order to support the IRB program as required; 
- refocusing recruiting efforts to increase the number of personnel at HMCS Discovery who can be trained for search and rescue; and 
- adding another RCN Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat to the fleet of three that already support operations at HMCS Discovery.

• DND will also improve existing facilities at HMCS Discovery as part of the $2 million in funding for required maintenance and upgrades to infrastructure at the Naval Reserve Division.

• Recent steps to strengthen Coast Guard SAR capabilities include two contracts totaling $89.2 million announced in early July for 12 new search and rescue lifeboats, and a $7.6 million contract for 27 new inshore rescue boats to be stationed across the country to support search and rescue operations for the CCG.

• In the past five years, the Government of Canada has delivered over 100 vessels to the CCG, including nine Hero-class Mid-Shore Patrol Vessels; two hovercrafts; five Search and Rescue Lifeboats; three Specialty Vessels; three Near-Shore Fishery Research Vessels; and numerous small boats and environmental barges. CCG is also procuring 22 new helicopters, the first of which arrived in Victoria last week.

Quotes

“These measures will help make Vancouver’s waterways even safer and improve the Coast Guard’s response capability for pollution incidents. I know the Royal Canadian Navy looks forward to increased cooperation with the Canadian Coast Guard on the West Coast.” The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence

“The Canadian Coast Guard’s first priority is the safety of mariners and the protection of the marine environment. Through this collaborative effort in the Vancouver area, we are demonstrating our government’s commitment to strengthening the Coast Guard’s pollution response and inshore rescue capability.” The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

"Today, we are taking steps to enhance our readiness and capacity in Vancouver Harbour. I would like to thank the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces for their support to this Inshore Rescue Boat Station and their continued collaboration with the Canadian Coast Guard in keeping British Columbia’s waters safe and clean.” The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, P.C., Q.C., Member of Parliament for Delta-Richmond East and Minister of National Revenue

“The Royal Canadian Navy is happy to further increase its cooperation and ties with the Canadian Coast Guard, sharing expertise and experience, so that our Canadian waters are kept safe.” Vice Admiral Mark Norman, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy “HMCS Discovery, as the Vancouver area’s Naval Reserve Division, is proud to continue to be the home of this Inshore Rescue Boat Station and to help serve our region’s many boaters." Lieutenant-Commander Bryan Price, Commanding Officer of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Discovery