The first week of November 2017 was a big week for the Arctic states Coast Guards, as two simultaneous meetings took place in Turku, Finland. Both Experts of the Arctic Coast Guard Forum (ACGF) and Directors of the Arctic states Rescue Coordination Centers gathered to discuss issues related to Search and Rescue cooperation in the highly complex area of the Arctic.
The Arctic RCC meeting was the first one of its kind. During the meeting RCC Directors of Arctic states had the chance to present activities of their organizations and to discuss different aspects on how to best operationalize SAR coordination in different areas of the Arctic. The participants also dealt with issues related to Arctic SAR training and provided the ACGF Experts with insight on how to develop such training. These insights will function as initial guidelines to the Arctic Coast Guard Forum, as its Member states are looking into developing better SAR training for Coast Guard officials who operate in the Arctic region.
The ACGF Experts meeting was the first gathering of the Forum after the operational Arctic Guardian exercise, which was held in September in Iceland. The valuable lessons learned and best practices from the exercise were key points of the discussions that took place during the meeting. Furthermore, the ACGF Experts had the priviledge to hear about and discuss activities of the Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators, as Mrs. Frigg Jørgensen, Director of AECO gave a presentation at the meeting.
The participants of the two meetings also had the opportunity to gain first-hand experience on how maritime simulators can be used in Arctic SAR training at the Aboa Mare Training Centre. The visit to Aboa Mare simulators will serve towards the ACGF’s large-scale simulation exercise which is arranged in March 2018 in Turku. Towards the end of the meetings the ACGF Experts and the Arctic RCC Directors participated as observers in an MRO Exercise organized by the Finnish Border Guard at the sea area of Helsinki.
The Arctic RCC meeting and ACGF Experts meeting play an important role in the Finnish Border Guard’s two-year-long Chairmanship of the Arctic Coast Guard Forum. All eight Arctic states are represented at the meetings, which can be seen as a clear sign of the Coast Guard functions devotion to develop safer and more secure maritime functions in Arctic areas.