PRINCE RUPERT, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwired) -- 05/01/13 -- Members of the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force joined members of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), United States Coast Guard (USCG) and United States Air Force (USAF) for a Search and Rescue Exercise held from April 29 to May 1 near Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
The Canada-United States Hecate Strait Search and Rescue Exercise allowed Canadian and American search and rescue crews to practice working together in order to respond to an off-shore vessel in distress. The challenging and realistic training involved approximately 50 members of the Canadian Armed Forces, 25 CCG members, as well as 30 USCG and 30 USAF personnel.
"The Canadian Armed Forces stand ready to work with our search and rescue partners in the United States to respond to distress calls at sea," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "Exercising this partnership during realistic training scenarios ensures we continue to provide an effective maritime search and rescue response to those in need."
"Rapid and effective cooperation between first responders is paramount for a successful maritime search and rescue mission," said the Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, Q.C., Associate Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Delta-Richmond East. "This exercise demonstrated that Canada is committed to enhancing one of the finest maritime search and rescue partnerships in the world."
During the exercise, the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel, Her Majesty's Canadian Ship Edmonton , simulated a ship in distress, with her crew acting as injured persons. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria coordinated the response by American and Canadian planes, helicopters and ships throughout the simulated emergency.
"Search and Rescue operations at sea rely on an integrated approach that combines air and maritime resources from a broad spectrum of government and volunteer organizations and sometimes, across borders," said Rear-Admiral William Truelove, Commander of Joint Task Force Pacific. "In Canada, Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian Coast Guard personnel at Joint Rescue Coordination Centers across the country coordinate the overall response to air or maritime search and rescue incidents using any resource necessary to render assistance to those in need as quickly as possible."
Aeronautical and maritime search and rescue incidents under the federal search and rescue mandate are defined as "all aircraft incidents and all marine incidents in waters under federal jurisdiction." With the exception of federally owned national parks, the overall responsibility for ground search and rescue rests with the provinces, territories and municipalities. The Canadian Armed Forces may, however, provide assistance to land and inland water rescues when possible.
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