Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Operation NANOOK 2008 was held from August 11 to August 25 by the Canadian Forces for the purpose of conducting mock emergency rescue operations for potential maritime disasters in the northeastern Canadian Arctic waters.
Two Canadian navy ships and two airforce planes, a CC-138 Twin Otter and a CP-140 Aurora, took part in the exercises in the Canada’s Arctic. The HMCS Toronto and the Canadian Coast Guard ship Pierre Radisson travelled along the Hudson Strait. The Operation extended to Davis Strait, and Frobisher Bay during the annual NANOOK Operation. There have been 18 such humanitarian operations since 2002. As more Arctic ice melts, the ships sail through uncharted waters. Emergency response times were tested for such potential disasters as oil spills, or rescue operations such as responding to cruise ship emergencies.
General Walter Natynczyk, Canada’s chief of Defence staff, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Defence Minister as well as Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and Steven Fletcher, Member of Parliament for Charleswood–St. James–Assiniboia and Parliamentary Secretary for Health, flew to Iqaluit, Nunavut to officially launch the exercise on August 19, 2008 and observe the process.
In addition to the military exercises, Veterans Affairs Canada held a commemorative event onboard the HMCS Toronto to honour the 55th Anniversary of the Cease Fire in Korea, the 65th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, and the start of the Last 100 days of the First World War. The inaugural ceremonies were held during Community Day activities in the capital city of Iqaluit, followed by the public panel discussion held on Saturday. The community day ceremonies were organized by participants in Operation NANOOK 2008. The public ceremonies received neither Nunavut politicians nor Inuit leaders.