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Inuvik coast guard office to close next year
Iqaluit taking marine communications calls

Samantha Stokell
Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Canadian Coast Guard communications for the Northwest Territories will move out of Inuvik and to Iqaluit at the end of next year.

NNSL photo/graphic

Next year will be the last for the Inuvik Marine Communications and Traffic Services office to operate. All communications will come from a modernized office in Iqaluit. - Samantha Stokell/NNSL photo

The 2012 marine season will be the last in Inuvik for the five employees at the Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services. Communications for the North will be from a "state-of-the-art" communications centre in Iqaluit.

"(It) provides mariners operating in the Canadian Arctic a single point of contact in order to access the latest and most up-to-date information and services available to assist in their operations," wrote Kevin Hill, communications manager for Arctic and Aquaculture Central and Arctic Region of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, in an e-mail. "Areas of coverage will not be impacted by the consolidation, nor will safety and response times be affected."

The Inuvik radio facility provides information for the marine community on Great Slave Lake, Mackenzie River, Beaufort Seas and Mackenzie Delta. The four officers and one technician respond to calls that fall under various categories: distress, urgency, notification or normal.

It also ensures help is delivered promptly, screens vessels, broadcasts safety information, regulates vessel traffic movements, and manages the marine information system.

Starting in the 2013 season, all marine traffic communications will be consolidated into a single point to transmit and receive radio information.

"They will integrate maritime information across the Arctic. The introduction of the single MCTS centre for the Arctic in Iqaluit will increase the availability of services in both official languages (French and English) to those users previously utilizing the English-only service provided by MCTS Inuvik," Hill wrote. "The creation of the single centre will improve the (Canadian Coast Guard's) capacity to monitor all vessel traffic and position the organization well to respond to future demands for MCTS services in the Arctic."

The number of calls to the Inuvik office has declined, Hill said, but calls to the Iqualuit office have increased due to new mandatory vessel reporting regulations in the Arctic Canada Traffic zone.

The Canadian Coast Guard will still remain in the NWT with a base in Hay River, which has two vessels.

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