Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley departs for its first-ever Arctic mission

July 12 2018 - CCGS Samuel Risley departs the Canadian Coast Guard base in Quebec City for its maiden Arctic voyage. Destination: Thule Greenland. photo courtesy Carol Launderville - Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The Canadian Coast Guard’s annual Arctic operational season is underway and includes a maiden voyage to the Arctic by the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley.

CCGS Samuel Risley departed Quebec City today with 25 officers and crew on board.  Their first task will be to support the annual resupply mission for the United States Air Base at Thule Greenland.   “My crew and I will be doing the Operation Pacer Goose mission.  We are very much looking forward to seeing and working on the rugged coast of Greenland, a place few people ever get to experience,” said Captain John Cork, who is in command of CCGS Samuel Risley for the first month of its eight week Arctic mission.  “This is a wonderful opportunity for the crew, and personally I am thrilled to have this as my last assignment before I retire after 34 years with the Canadian Coast Guard”.

1200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, Thule is locked in by ice about nine months out of the year.  Icebreaking service is needed to allow for a rapid resupply of food, fuel, construction materials and cargo.  After the Operation Pacer Goose mission CCGS Samuel Risley will transit to the eastern Canadian Arctic and the waters of Baffin Bay, the Hudson Strait and northern Hudson Bay.

Captain Signe Gotfredsen notes her crew members are truly looking forward to providing Coast Guard service in the north.  Captain Gotfredsen will assume command of the ship during the second half of this mission. “For a number of the crew, this will be their first time plying Arctic waters, so there is a sense of exploration onboard,”  said Captain Gotfredsen.  “Some of our preparation time has been spent on training including Indigenous Engagement, helicopter slinging operations and environmental response.”

CCGS Samuel Risley joined the Coast Guard fleet in the fall of 1985. During most of the navigational season, the ship operates out of the Canadian Coast Guard base in Parry Sound.  The vessel often works on the St. Marys River, Lake Huron, Lake Superior and Georgian Bay.  It is multi-tasked and in addition to its icebreaking and aids to navigation duties on the Great Lakes it has also served on Canada’s east coast.

The Canadian Coast Guard’s Arctic operational season will run into late November, providing extended vessel presence in the Arctic under investments from the $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan.

CCGS Samuel Risley joins other coast guard ships serving the Arctic this year including CCGS Amundsen, CCGS Martha L. Black, CCGS Pierre Radisson, CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier, CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent and CCGS Henry Larsen.


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