Coast Guard helps stranded students depart Iqaluit
"We are so pleased that the Canadian Coast Guard could assist these stranded students"
Thanks to the crew of Canadian Coast Guard Ship Des Groseilliers, 76 students and 40 educators departed Iqaluit early in the morning of Aug. 4, saving the Students on Ice expedition from cancellation.
As of Aug. 3, huge blocks of ice still clogged Iqaluit’s harbour area ,making it impossible for nearly all small vessels to move between the shore and larger vessels anchored further out to sea. (See embedded video below.)
This meant the students and educators, most of whom flew to Iqaluit at the end of July, couldn’t be transported to their vessel, the MV Akademik Ioffe, which was supposed to sail out of Iqaluit Aug. 1.
But by the evening of Aug. 3, organizers had worked out another way of reaching the Akademik Ioffe.
At high tide, the CCGS Des Groseilliers plowed its way close to Iqaluit. At the same time, small boats carried project participants from the end of the Iqaluit breakwater to the icebreaker.
The icebreaker then carried them further out to sea, where they were transferred to the Akademik Ioffe.
Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq and Keith Ashfield, the minister responsible for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which runs the Coast Guard, praised the crew of the Des Groseilliers in a statement Aug. 4.
“We are so pleased that the Canadian Coast Guard could assist these stranded students in getting safely to their research vessel. Canada’s North can be a dangerous and unpredictable place with extreme weather and ice conditions that can make travel very treacherous,” Aglukkaq and Ashfield said.
“People in the North are well-served by Canada’s Coast Guard who go above and beyond the call of duty to help with humanitarian incidents such as this.”