Coast Guard participates in search and rescue exercise at North Pole

The sun shines over the camp where participants endure a 24-hour survival exercise in the North Pole, Sept. 7, 2021. The team were part of a multi-national party that tested their survivability in the frigid climate. Photo by Lt. Cmdr. Aaron Riutta.

The sun shines over the camp where participants endure a 24-hour survival exercise in the North Pole, Sept. 7, 2021. Photo by Lt. Cmdr. Aaron Riutta.

JUNEAU, Alaska – Members from the Seventeenth Coast Guard District participated in an international search and rescue exercise at the North Pole, September 1-15, 2021.

Two Seventeenth Coast Guard District personnel, Lt. Cmdr. Aaron Riutta and Mr. Paul Webb, participated in an international search and rescue exercise aboard a French vessel at the geographic North Pole. The exercise allowed crews to test emergency communications capabilities with international arctic rescue coordination centers (RCC) and to test the polar survival protocol and equipment.

The exercise simulated a fire aboard the ship to practice an abandon ship drill onto the ice. There were 67 volunteer passengers and crew that participated in the drill and remained on the ice pack for 24 hours to test the ship’s polar survival plan and equipment.

The exercise allowed international Arctic RCCs, to include Joint RCC Juneau, to test emergency communications capabilities with each other.

“The Coast Guard’s Seventeenth District in Alaska is the gateway to America’s Arctic,” said Riutta. “The partnerships developed with Arctic nations during this exercise support the common goal of protecting lives in our respective regions as they become more accessible.”


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