The Arctic makes up over 40 per cent of Canada’s landmass and is home to more than 100,000 Canadians. It is an essential part of Canada’s national identity and is an area of growing importance internationally.
Most Canadians living along the Arctic depend on marine shipping (the Sealift) to deliver every day necessities to their communities, from food and fuel to vehicles and construction material. Major purchases such as lumber to renovate one’s house, a new vehicle for the family, or an ATM banking machine for a village, all depend on when the Sealift can deliver them. Arctic resource projects also depend on marine shipping to deliver equipment, fuel and supplies as well as to carry their product to market. Through the services they provide, CMC members play a critical role in the daily lives of Northern Canadians and in the region’s economic development.
Canadian ships providing vital supplies to Arctic communities navigate in channels between the islands that range in depth from less than 100 m to about 600 m in eastern Lancaster Sound. Today’s modern Canadian ships supplying the Arctic range from tankers carrying fuel to general cargo ships. They are equipped with the latest in electronic navigation and communications systems, safety equipment, and cargo handling equipment.
Canadian crews are familiar with the Arctic and its environment – including sensitive hunting and fishing seasons, marine protected areas and as always: the weather. Another feature of Arctic shipping is there are no ports in any of the communities. Delivering supplies requires a ship to unload its cargo into barges that transfer it to a beach on the shore. The barges can often voyage some two kilometers between the shore. The distance is determined by the depths of waters, as the ship must keep to a minimum depth for safety. Both the local crews on the barges and the ship’s crew play important roles to ensure that goods are delivered safely.
Supporting Economic Development
In addition to community supply, Canadian ships provide critical services to Arctic resource projects. These projects play an important role in economic development and providing employment for Arctic communities.
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