CCGS Vector Chief Officer Brent Seamone out on the deck of the ship. Often Coast Guard vessels host scientists for 28 days at a time. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Coast Guard shows off Canadian can-do attitude

Coast Guard facilitates 40 B.C. scientific programs each year

When not saving stricken mariners or reacting to disasters at sea, the Canadian Coast Guard puts its resources to good use, supporting scientists conducting vital research into B.C.’s coastal ecosystem.

As well as the traditional core activities, the service is facilitating 40 science programs around B.C.’s coast, this year.

ALSO READ: Experts butt heads in court, hunter loses case for return of ram

Last week saw the CCGS Vector operate as a floating base for eight Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) scientists monitoring abalone numbers and health. The schedule is fast paced, with the Coast Guard watch officers working from midnight to noon and noon to midnight, while the scientists do eight scuba dives a day.

“It creates an environment on board where you’re always learning,” says CCGS Vector Chief Officer Brent Seamone. “I’m impressed with their [the scientists] work ethic and they’re good to work with.”

Although the vessel contains some of the comforts of home, such as a full time chef and a small gym, space is at a premium and is probably not for the claustrophobic. Crew members are cooped up with scientists for between two and 28 days, the ship operating 24/7 and people sleeping in shifts. Multiple trips are sometimes scheduled, such as the abalone dive team who are due back for three more weeks in the fall.

ALSO READ: Hundreds of floating ‘Sponge Bobs’ help track ocean currents

Often the ships host scientists working on more than one project at a time and have been utilized by a whole host of organizations, such as those related to ocean health, fishery stock assessment, hydrographic services, climate change and geology.

Coast Guard ships and personnel are always available to carry out their core duties should an emergency arise. There have been instances where ships have responded to a call and been diverted, with the scientists pitching in to assist Coast Guard personnel.

Under normal circumstances other vessels are available for search and rescue duties, while ships focusing on scientific research, like the Vector, operate almost everywhere along the B.C. coastline, including delving into remote coastal inlets, and up to several hundred miles offshore.

ALSO READ: Necropsy of grey whale rules out plastic poisoning

Currently four CCGS vessels are hosting scientists; the John P. Tully, Vector, Otter Bay and Neocaligus. The Sir John Franklin is soon to be inducted and will support fisheries research.

The largest ship, CCGS John P. Tully supports offshore science, including one of the longest standing ocean data collections in the world – Ocean Station Papa.

The CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier is an example of why scientists value the reach of the Coast Guard, as it is currently supporting a well established program along the Alaskan Panhandle, and in the Canadian Arctic, with local and international scientists on an annual Arctic trip.

For the scientists, who better to have watching your back than the Coast Guard? Seamone says although they are well equipped, safety always come first.

“It can get pretty hairy. Sometimes if the weather gets too bad, we have to slow the program down.”



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Actually one of the more spacious cabins aboard the CCGS Vector. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Christine Hansen and Dan Leus onboard a boat sailing towards the CCGS Vector. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Just Posted

No boozing while BC Ferries cruising

Planned June launch for alcohol sales delayed

BC Coroners Service in early stages of investigation into death of Saanich student

British Columbia recorded 293 deaths of children in 2016, according to 2018 report

Victoria sees many new landmarks between 2018-2019

Bridges, buildings and more have popped up across Victoria in the past year

Langford fire douses six fires in two days – five from cigarette butts

‘The world is not a personal ashtray’ says fire chief

Saanich school grapples with death of 13-year-old

Teenager died after being struck and pinned by tree while on a field trip near Sooke

VIDEO: Rare white killer whale captured by drone near Campbell River

The transient orca has been named Tl’uk, a Coast Salish word that means ‘moon.’

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

B.C.-born Carey Price brings young fan to tears at NHL Awards banquet

Anderson Whitehead first met his hockey idol after his mother died of cancer

Nanaimo a prime market for new plane, Air Canada says

Vice-president previews Airbus A220, praises Nanaimo’s growth in passenger numbers

RCMP deploys special unit in Comox Valley to combat organized crime

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit spends four days targeting organized crime in Courtenay

B.C. temporarily halts resource development to protect caribou

The caribou population in northeastern B.C. has dwindled over the last two decades

Students disciplined after anti-LGBTQ signs posted in Kamloops high school

Vessy Mochikas, SD73’s principal for inclusive education, called incident a learning opportunity

Most Read