The Canadian Coast guard’s medium icebreaker Henry Larsen is seen in Allen Bay during Operation Nanook as Prime Minister Stephen Harper visits Resolute, Nunavut on the third day of his five day northern tour to Canada’s Arctic on August 25, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The Canadian Coast guard’s medium icebreaker Henry Larsen is seen in Allen Bay during Operation Nanook as Prime Minister Stephen Harper visits Resolute, Nunavut on the third day of his five day northern tour to Canada’s Arctic on August 25, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canadian Coast Guard to increase focus on Arctic with new zone

The Canadian Coast Guard says it is planning to use three “interim” icebreakers for the next 15 to 20 years as it contends with an aging fleet of vessels.

The Canadian Coast Guard is increasing its focus on the Arctic.

Northern Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc is announcing that the coast guard is creating a new branch devoted solely to looking after Canada’s northern waters.

The new coast guard zone will be accompanied by an extensive set of talks across the North to discuss what the coast guard’s future role in those rapidly changing seas should be.

Climate change is opening Arctic seas across the world to tourism, shipping and resource development.

At the same time, it’s creating new problems such as the pile-up of old ice that blocked some northern communities from their annual supply shipment this year.

LeBlanc’s announcement comes days after the government said it was buying three used icebreakers.

Related: $67M for two emergency towing vessels for B.C. coast

Related: Coast Guard warns of explosive hazard after barge runs aground on Haida Gwaii

The Canadian Press

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