AECO, ICG and JRCC NN Hold Annual Joint Arctic SAR Event

Group Photo

The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), the Icelandic Coast Guard and the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Northern Norway invited expedition cruise operators and SAR entities for the annual Joint Arctic SAR Event held last week.

“We want to ensure the safest possible cruise operations in the Arctic, and the best possible response if there is an incident,” said the group in a joint statement.

The topic of the event was turning findings from exercises and experiences into action and working together to increase safety in Arctic maritime operations.

There were approximately 70 participants in the event which lasted two days.

Participants focused on how to turn findings into action at discussions and workshops.

The event included national SAR presentations from Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Canada and the U.S. as well as insights from the expedition cruise industry.

The Danish Air force, ICE-SAR and the Icelandic Red Cross performed demonstrations of emergency equipment in Keflavik Airport hangar where the Icelandic Coast Guard demonstrated a live ship rescue operation in the harbor of Reykjanesbær.

Lessons learned include sharing of information, collaboration and coordination as well as abandon ship procedures, crowd management techniques and efficient use of equipment.

“A ‘blooming’ cruise industry is great, however, there are some challenges. They can be managed by working together,” said Captain Auðunn Kristinsson from the Icelandic Coast guard.

“Historically we have regarded the cruise industry as a risk generator. After years of working together, we realize that they are also a risk mitigator. They bring with assets and resources to the area,” said Superintendent Steve Thompson from the Canadian Coast Guard.

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