Under the auspices of the Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic, the Arctic Guardian 2017 exercise was executed successfully by the Arctic Coast Guard Forum (ACGF). Arctic Guardian 2017 was the first live exercise and an important step towards achieving even closer cooperation between the agencies representing the coast guards in the eight arctic countries - Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and USA. Based on the lessons identified and lessons learned during Arctic Guardian 2017, future exercises are planned to be conducted within the ACGF framework.
Arctic Guardian 2017 Increases Cross National Collaboration and Cooperation
If something happens in the Arctic region, it may take days for help to arrive. Accidents could affect several countries, not to mention the sensitive ecosystems of the northern hemisphere. Cooperation is crucial if we want to secure the safety of the people and the environment. The Arctic Coast Guard Forum is an important platform of multilateral cooperation and coordination to enhance maritime safety, security and environmental stewardship of the Arctic.
The Arctic Guardian was a combined Search and Rescue Exercise. The objective of the exercise was to test cooperation between search and rescue units and search and rescue services. In addition, a communication exercise was held between Rescue Coordination Centres (RCCs) in the eight countries, and tested an information exchange system with promising results. Assets used in the exercise consisted of maritime units from Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and the United States, in addition to air assets from Canada, Denmark, Iceland and the United States.
To enhance the field level cooperation the ACGF has developed Voluntary Guidelines for Combined Operations. During the Arctic Guardian 2017 exercise, effectiveness of the guidelines was validated.
Strong Commitment to the Partnership
This exercise provided an excellent basis for developing further joint exercises on the path towards more concrete and practical cooperation. Sharing best practices builds safer and more efficient maritime operations in the Arctic. ACGF is strongly committed to continuously strengthening their partnership and to advance cooperation in order to provide for safe, secure, and environmentally-responsible maritime activity in the Arctic.
Edit June 2018: The Final Exercise Report of the Arctic Guardian 2017 was finalized in March 2018 during the ACGF Experts meeting held in Oulu, Finland. Should you be interested in receiving the report, please contact ACGF@raja.fi.