Canadian Coast Guard Holds Major Maritime Incident Exercise in British Columbia

The MV Coastal Renaissance gets ready for Exercise Salish Sea 2017, the largest major maritime incident exercise in Canadian Coast Guard history. Canadian Coast Guard Photo

The Canadian Coast Guard and its federal and local partners are holding a large-scale on-the-water emergency preparedness exercise in the Gulf Islands area in British Columbia this week. 

The two-day exercise, known “Exercise Salish Sea 2017”, will be the largest major maritime incident exercise in Canadian Coast Guard history, and is an opportunity for various organizations to work together in maritime emergency scenario and practice a coordinated response.

The scenario for Day 1 is that a fire has occurred on BC Ferries’ M/V Coastal Renaissance, and passengers and crew must evacuate. During the exercise, the Coastal Renaissance was used for the evacuation of 100 volunteers for the Search and Rescue portion of the exercise. This also includes a hand-over of command from the Canadian Armed Forces to the Canadian Coast Guard.

On Day 2, the CCGS Bartlett will be simulating the ferry near Salt Spring Island for the marine Environmental Response portion of the exercise. An Incident Command Post, to oversee the coordination of the simulated clean-up efforts, will be organized by Coast Guard at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney for that day.

Other participants in the exercise include the Canadian Armed Forces – Joint Task Force Pacific, BC Ferries, BC Ministry of Environment, Emergency Management BC, BC Emergency Health Services, Public Safety Canada, and Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue.