Canadian soldiers participate in mock Arctic search and rescue exercise in Greenland
"These kinds of exercises put us in a much better position to respond to incidents in the North"
Search and Rescue officials from the Canadian Armed Forces have returned home after participating in a simulated international maritime disaster.
Search and Rescue Exercise Greenland Sea 13, which ran from Sept. 2 to Sept. 6, was hosted for a second consecutive year by Denmark near Ella Island off Greenland’s east coast.
“Through this intensive exercise, the Canadian Armed Forces have gained significant ground in addressing jurisdictional and logistical requirements in the event of a major Arctic incident,” said Major-General Christopher Coates, Deputy Commander Continental of Canadian Joint Operations Command, and senior Canadian forces representative at the exercise, in a Sept. 9 news release on the exercise known as SAREX.
“Major international SAR operations require complex coordination, which is why opportunities like these are vital for strengthening our partnerships and enhancing our practices.”
SAREX Greenland Sea 13 recreated a maritime disaster and response scenario that involved four of the eight Arctic Council member states: Canada, Denmark, Iceland, and the United States.
Canada’s contribution to the SAREX included one SAR CC-130 Hercules aircraft and approximately 30 military personnel.
“Last year was our first chance to discover the challenges of working with multiple countries in such a remote maritime environment,” said Master Warrant Officer Greg Smit, an exercise coordinator. “This year we overcame those challenges and demonstrated the ability to successfully work with our Arctic neighbours in response to a major SAR incident. These kinds of exercises put us in a much better position to respond to incidents in the North.”