10th Anniversary of the Canadian Research Icebreaker CCGS Amundsen

QUEBEC CITY, July 26, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Amundsen will celebrate its 10th Anniversary as a research icebreaker this year as it departs Quebec City on 26 July for its annual expedition to the Canadian Arctic. Over the last 10 years, the CCGS Amundsen has been a major catalyst in revitalizing Canadian Arctic science by giving Canadian researchers and their international collaborators unprecedented access to the Arctic Ocean.

Thanks to major investments from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Amundsen underwent a massive retrofit in 2002-2003, emerging as a state-of-the-art research platform. The Amundsen is one of the few Canadian Coast Guard vessels to have a dual purpose, dedicated to scientific operations in the Canadian Arctic during the summer and fall and performing icebreaking and escort manoeuvres for the Coast Guard throughout the winter and spring in the River, Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The Amundsen and the partnership between academia and the Coast Guard constitutes one of the most powerful scientific tools available to Canada and the international community for studying the transformation of the Arctic. Equipped with new engines and its scientific equipment in top condition, the icebreaker is ready for the 2013 scientific expedition and beyond.

- Dr. Louis Fortier, Scientific Director of ArcticNet and Scientific Leader - CCGS Amundsen

Since its maiden voyage in 2003, the CCGS Amundsen has made annual trips to the Canadian Arctic in support of ArcticNet, a Network of Centres of Excellence of Canada based out of Université Laval in Quebec City, and their national and international partners and collaborators. The ship's facilities and pool of over $30 million in scientific equipment make it a versatile research platform for polar research in geology, climate studies, oceanography, biogeochemistry, marine ecology, fisheries, benthic ecology, sea ice, atmospheric sciences, climatology, contaminants, terrestrial ecology, human health and epidemiology.

The CCGS Amundsen is the first research icebreaker in the world to have undertaken two over-wintering expeditions in the Arctic as part of the Canadian Arctic Shelf Exchange Study (CASES) in 2003-2004 and the International Polar Year Circumpolar Flaw Lead (CFL) System Study in 2007-2008. The vessel was also transformed into a floating research clinic to assist doctors, nurses, interpreters and scientists during two major Health Surveys, visiting all coastal communities of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut to assess the health of Canadian Inuit.

Since 2003, the vessel has spent over 1400 research days at sea and accommodated over 1100 scientists, researchers, technicians, students, professionals and media from over 20 different countries, travelling over 150 000 nautical miles or almost 7 times the circumference of the earth. In 2012, the Amundsen's scientific achievements were celebrated across Canada as the vessel was bestowed the honor of adorning the Bank of Canada's new $50 polymer bank notes.

The vessel was released from dry dock in St. Catharines, Ontario earlier this year after a significant infrastructure investment by the Government of Canada. Eighty members of the Canadian Coast Guard and over 100 scientific participants will join in this year's expedition as the Amundsen travels along the coasts of Labrador and Baffin Island, north to Baffin Bay, through the Northwest Passage to the Beaufort Sea and back again, returning to Quebec City in mid-October.

About ArcticNet
ArcticNet, a Network of Centres of Excellence of Canada, brings together scientists and managers in the natural, human health and social sciences with their partners from Inuit organizations, northern communities, federal and provincial agencies and the private sector to study the impacts of climate change and modernization in the coastal Canadian Arctic. Over 145 ArcticNet researchers from 30 Canadian Universities, and 20 federal and provincial agencies and departments collaborate with research teams in Denmark, Finland, France, Greenland, Japan, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the USA.

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Image with caption: "The CCGS Amundsen has been a major catalyst in revitalizing Canadian Arctic science by giving Canadian researchers and their international collaborators unprecedented access to the Arctic Ocean. (CNW Group/ArcticNet)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130726_C9829_PHOTO_EN_29310.jpg

SOURCE: ArcticNet

For further information:

Katie Blasco, Communications Officer
E: katie.blasco@arcticnet.ulaval.ca
T: (418) 656-3717
C: (418) 576-0355

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