GRAND HAVEN, Mich., — Admiral Paul Zukunft, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, hosted the Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Mr. Jeffery Hutchinson, in a one-day “Summit” at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Sector Field Office located in Grand Haven. The U.S. Coast Guard and the Canadian Coast Guard share a long history of cooperation in numerous missions across their shared maritime border and the Summit provided a great opportunity for both organizations to continue to strengthen that cooperation.
During the Summit, senior representatives from each organization discussed issues specific to executing responsibilities to prepare for and respond to oil and hazardous substance events under the auspices of their bilateral Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan. In addition, the group provided updates on joint initiatives specific to the Arctic, enhancing shipping safety and security, and enhancing cooperation with the critical Indigenous populations of the U.S. and Canada.
Commissioner Hutchinson stated that “The Canadian Coast Guard and United States Coast Guard have a long history of working hand-in-hand to protect our shared coastlines. The economies of both countries rely heavily on the safe passage of goods through our waters. Updating of the Joint Marine Contingency Plan to reflect today’s environment is a demonstration of our shared and ongoing commitment to the safety of mariners at sea and the protection of our waters”.
Admiral Zukunft highlighted that “The United States Coast Guard and the Canadian Coast Guard’s long-standing relationship has yielded great successes and this past year is no exception. Stewardship of our natural resources and the protection of our shared maritime boundary requires great coordination between our two organizations. Highlighted by the signing of our bi-lateral Joint Marine Contingency Plan, this year’s Summit addressed the critical issues of the continued safe shipment of goods within our marine transportation systems, the importance of our roles within the Arctic Council, and furthering the joint initiatives that remain so critical to our nations.”
A highlight of the Summit was the signing of the 2017 update to the Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan, which serves as a coordinated system for planning, preparedness, and responding to harmful substance incidents in the contiguous waters along the shared maritime borders of the U.S. and Canada. This plan supplements each country’s national response systems and coordinates the interface of these systems for boundary areas.
The Summit was held in conjunction with the annual U.S. Coast Guard Day festivities in Grand Haven, a notable “Coast Guard City” as recognized by the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard in 1998.
The Coast Guard’s 9th District Headquarters in Cleveland is responsible for Coast Guard activities throughout the five Great Lakes, the Saint Lawrence Seaway and parts of the surrounding states including 6,700 miles of shoreline and 1,500 miles of the international border with Canada.