ACGF was established in 2015 to strengthen multilateral cooperation and coordination between the eight member states (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States) within the Arctic maritime domain. ACGF will arrange its first operative exercise, the Arctic Guardian 2017, next week in Iceland. The first operative exercise is an important step forward towards achieving even closer cooperation between the member states.
The importance of cooperation to maritime safety
If something happens in the Arctic region, it might take even 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. Sharing best practices builds safer and more efficient maritime operations in the Arctic area.
Arctic Guardian 2017 strives to enhance cross national collaboration
The Arctic Guardian is a combined Search and Rescue Exercise. The operative objective of the exercise is to test cooperation between search and rescue units. In addition, a communication exercise is held between Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs). The exercise is undertaken with a view to enhance awareness of the importance of Arctic SAR.
Scenario of the Arctic Guardian 2017 exercise – vessel in distress
A Cruise ship, en route from Greenland to Iceland, has lost communication contact with a shipping company and authorities. There are 200 passengers and 50 crewmembers on board. Surface units and air assets coming from several arctic countries will participate in searching the missing life rafts and people in water. Assets used in the exercise consist of maritime units from Denmark, Canada, Norway, Iceland and the United States in addition to air assets from Denmark, the United States, Canada and Iceland. The maritime units and air assets are working in close cooperation in this combined SAR operation. Finland, Sweden and Russian Federation are taking part to the exercise as observers.
The aim of the exercise is to develop combined search and rescue operations in the Arctic and to increase cooperation and coordination among the Rescue Coordination Centres (RCC). The content of the Arctic Guardian will be assessed and activities will be developed and enhanced for the purpose of upcoming exercises. In future, operative or tabletop exercises are planned to be conducted at least once a year within the ACGF framework.