Comes in threes...

On the national news tonight, another grounded ship in the Canadian arctic... Uh oh, three in a month. The media is all over it, and apparently, so is the Canadian Coast Guard. The first grounding was Coastal Shipping's Mokami, near Pangnirtung (off the eastern coast of Baffin Island), then Clipper Adventurer, a pocket cruise ship in the "middle of the Northwest Passage". On Wednesday, it was Coastal Shipping's Nanny which grounded near Gjoa Haven.

The CCGS Henry Larsen was on its way to attend to the latest casualty, a tanker reportedly carrying 9,000 tons of refined petroleum products on a Nordic re-supply mission, grounded for unknown reasons, on a "sand bar".

Last week the CCGS Amundsen, principally funded from the Canadian scientific community, and taking a "leisurely" 48 hrs before arriving on scene, rendered assistance to the grounded pocket cruise ship, Clipper Adventurer, near Kugluktuk, in the the Northwest Passage.

I am no expert in the arctic, but I do understand that the Northwest Passage's challenges are shallow waters, and, principally, outdated navigation charts, some dating back centuries, to the initial surveys done for the British Admiralty. Over on DFO's website, you can start to understand the further additional challenges of "high latitude navigation".

On the bright side, no loss of life has occured, and no environmental issues have arisen, both incidents involved "Canadian" companies... so at least we are venturing into our own back yard, and hopefully gaining experience from it. It would appear thought, that there is much to be learned here, and certainly put the powers that be, on notice, about the importance of a response plan, with appropriate assets be in place for the high arctic.

I hear the CCGS Pierre Radisson, currently tied up in Quebec City, is pretty much destined for the scrap heap due to the main engines, Alco 251 (Bombardier), being worn out - engine blocks are toast. The Radisson could be consider a sister ship of the Admundsen and Henry Larsen. Any further stalling by the Coast Guard and its governance, to replace these aging assets, is obviously a serious gamble, considering the important role they have just play(ed) in these incidents,

Our prime minister, Mr. Harper, was staging photos ops in the arctic just last week, extolling the virtues of blindly spending billions of dollars on high tech fighters, F35, (i am going to call it a Lamborghini - although a Lamborghini is probably more reliable and proven) to "protect" the north. Maybe he should consider spending considerably less, on replacing the aging "pick up trucks" of the north. Just a thought.

Pictured, Clipper Adventurer, and Nanny, from various internet sources. Clipper Adventurer, is a flag of convenience ship, operated by International Shipping Partners, of Miami. In the media, it is reportedly owned by a Canadian company based in Ontario, but ship records indicate it is officially owned by an American entity, based in Miami - Quark Expeditions, part of the TUI Group lists it as it own.

Woodward's Coastal Shipping is the registered owner of the Nanny, and is based in Newfoundland, on Canada's East Coast. Nanny is a 6,544GT Canadian flagged, DNV classed, product tanker built in 1993.

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