A newly equipped Transport Canada Dash 8 pollution surveillance aircraft was officially launched in St. John's today by the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, along with the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Environment and the Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister Responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador. The aircraft, equipped with state-of-the-art aerial surveillance equipment, will increase Transport Canada's ability to detect marine polluters better than ever before.
"We want to send a strong message to would-be polluters around the world that we will do whatever is necessary to protect the health of our marine environment," said Minister Cannon. "We are a world leader in using specialized technology to detect marine polluters, and we are confident that our new equipment will act as a powerful deterrent to potential polluters, with our increased ability to track them."
The installation of the Maritime Surveillance System 6000 (MSS 6000) represents an investment of $4.6 million.
The technology will enable the surveillance aircraft to cover a much broader area then before, day or night, and in more challenging weather conditions, such as low cloud cover.
"We are fully committed to protecting and preserving our pristine environment and addressing the very serious problem of illegal dumping of oil causing the death of hundreds of thousands of migratory birds annually," said Minister Ambrose. "This new technology is an excellent example of what Canada's New Government is doing to protect our environment. It is a perfect supplement to the existing RADARSAT satellite system."
RADARSAT is a satellite observation system that can be used in the detection of oil spilled on the ocean's surface. The use of the new aerial surveillance equipment, along with RADARSAT improves our ability to track and hold accountable those who pollute our waters.
"This government recognizes that the waters of Newfoundland and Labrador, and of all Eastern Canada, are critical to who we are, to our economies, to our communities and to our people," said Minister Hearn. "We are fully committed to doing what we can to protect our environment and will punish those who abuse it."
Several federal agencies, including Transport Canada, Environment Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, Justice Canada and the Department of National Defence, work closely together to prevent incidents of ship-source marine pollution. Various initiatives in the last several years include an awareness campaign to inform the domestic and international marine industry on the negative impact of ship-source marine pollution, as well as the Government of Canada's firm commitment to hold these polluters accountable for their actions.
Additional information, including radar images taken from this week's first mission, can be found at www.marinepollution.gc.ca.
For further information: Natalie Sarafian, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700; Robert Klager, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Environment, Ottawa, (819) 994-5232; Michelle Brazil, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Ottawa, (613) 947-4529; Tracey Hennessey, Transport Canada Communications, Newfoundland and Labrador, (709) 772-6197; Media Relations, Environment Canada, (819) 934-8008, 1-888-908-8008; Kimberley Penney, Communications Officer, Fisheries and Oceans, (709) 772-7629; This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.