Coast guards collaborate on marine pollution prevention

The Canadian and US Cost Guards have pledged to work together to prevent marine pollution in common waters.

On November 19, 2022, Canadian Coast Guard Commissioner Mario Pelletier and United States Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Linda L. Fagan signed the renewed Canada-United States Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan to provide a coordinated system for planning, preparedness and response to spills occurring in the waters between the two countries.

The Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan provides a coordinated mechanism for planning, preparing for, and responding to spills in transboundary waters and establishes procedures for the coordination of spill response efforts between Canada and the U.S. It allows both coast guards to work together to mitigate any potential pollution impacts on the marine environment.

The area of responsibility under the Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan extends along the Canada-United States border, from coast to coast to coast, and addresses transboundary waters in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Beaufort Sea, as well as the Great Lakes. The renewed signing of this agreement reaffirms the two coast guards’ commitment to keeping shared waters safe and healthy for citizens on both sides of the border.

The Canadian and United States coast guards consistently work closely together on a wide range of coast guard services, including environmental response, search and rescue, icebreaking, marine traffic management, and aids to navigation. Quotes

“This agreement reflects the excellent continuing bilateral collaboration between our two organizations, including in preparedness and response to marine pollution incidents in our shared waters. For the Canadian Coast Guard, the Joint Contingency Plan represents a model framework for how two likeminded countries can work effectively together with common purpose, learn from each other, and produce excellent results,” said Mario Pelletier, Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard.

The two coast guards regularly conduct joint exercises on the water to ensure operational readiness and increase collaboration.

Earlier this year Canadian Coast Guard Central Region Assistant Commissioner Marc-André Meunier and Rear Admiral Michael Johnston, Ninth District Commander of the United States Coast Guard signed the updated CANUSLAK Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan Annex agreement.

Also earlier this year, Canadian Coast Guard Arctic Region Assistant Commissioner Neil O’Rourke and United States Coast Guard Rear Admiral Nathan Moore signed the updated CANUSARCTIC Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan Annex agreement.

The CANUSLAK agreement is a regional operational annex of the Joint Contingency Plan that is specific to the transboundary waters in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River between Canada and the United States. The CANUSARCTIC agreement is a regional operational annex of the Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan that covers waters off the Arctic coast of Canada and the United States in the Beaufort Sea.

Both operational annexes were established to ensure coordinated planning, preparedness, and response to any pollution incidents in shared waters.