6Ice Navigation, Routeing and Requests for Icebreaker Assistance

1 Hudson Strait and Canadian Arctic

Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services (NORDREG) Zone

Mariners should be aware of the existence of the Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone established by the Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone Regulations. These regulations require certain vessels to report information to NORDREG before entering the NORDREG Zone and while navigating within it. In general, the NORDREG zone covers the waters of Ungava Bay, Hudson Bay and James Bay and Canada’s coastal northern waters within the area enclosed by the 60th parallel of north latitude, the 141st meridian of west longitude and the outer limit of the exclusive economic zone; however, where the international boundary between Canada and Greenland is less than 200 nautical miles from the baselines of the territorial sea of Canada, the international boundary shall be substituted for that outer limit.

Ice operations support in NORDREG waterways is provided by the Canadian Coast Guard. Icebreaker assistance as well as ice information and ice routing should be requested through NORDREG. For more detailed information on this VTS system, the definition of waters it covers and the requirements to make certain reports and obtain clearance, mariners should refer to Part 3 of the Radio Aids to Marine Navigation (Atlantic, St. Lawrence, Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg and Eastern Arctic).

(a)For general information on ice conditions:

   P.O. Box 189,
   Iqaluit (NU)
   X0A 0H0
Telephone: (867) 979-5724 or 979-5269
Facsimile: (867) 979-4264

1.1Ice Regime Routeing Message

When the Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System is used, the Arctic Shipping Pollution Prevention Regulations (ASPPR) requires that an Ice Regime Routing Message be sent to the NORDREG. This message can be brief, however, if the vessel’s route includes areas on ice analysis charts with ice concentrations that may have negative Ice Numerals, the message should include additional pertinent information explaining the voyage plan e.g. expectations of changes in conditions and/or other considerations. This message should be updated if the plan and/or ice conditions change significantly.

Ice Regime Routing Message

(a)the ship’s name,

(b)the ship’s call sign and IMO number

(c)the ice strengthening of the ship (Type / CAC / Arctic Class / etc.),

(d)the date and UTC time,

(e)the ship’s current position, course and speed,

(f)the anticipated destination,

(g)the intended route,

(h)a listing of the ice regimes and their associated Ice Numerals,

(i)the source(s) of ice information,

(j)any other pertinent information / comments,

(k)the name of any escorting vessel, and

(l)the name(s) of the Ice Navigator(s) on board

1.2After Action Report

When the Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System is used, in accordance with ASPPR, an After Action Report is to be submitted. The report can be brief; however, in cases where the voyage has involved difficulties or

unexpected occurrences, it will be valuable to include additional information. Unlike the routing message, the After Action Report is to be sent to Transport Canada.

Transport Canada
Prairie and Northern Region, Marine
344 Edmonton St.
PO Box 8550
Winnipeg, MB, R3C 0P6
Tel.: (204) 983-7498
Fax: (204) 984-8417

After Action Report

(a) the ship’s name,

(b)the ice strengthening of the ship (Type / CAC / Arctic Class / etc.),

(c)a description of the actual route, including the; ice regimes encountered, transit speeds and the Ice Numerals for each,

(d)copies of the ice information used,

(e)escort information, if applicable

1)duration of the escort,

2)the ice regime under escort, and

3)the characteristics of the track,

(f) weather conditions and visibility, and

(g) any other important information.

2East Coast, Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence

During the winter navigation season a similar service is provided to ships intending to transit or to operate in the East Coast and Gulf of St. Lawrence waters. Access to this service can be obtained by contacting the Eastern Canada Traffic System (ECAREG CANADA). ECAREG communications procedures are specified in the current Radio Aids to Navigation publications.

(a)For general information on ice conditions and icebreaker assistance along the main shipping route in the Gulf of St. Lawrence:

            Address:            Canadian Coast Guard,
                                       Central & Arctic Region,
                                       Regional Operations Centre,
                                       105 McGill Street,
                                       Montréal, QC, H2Y 2E7
            Telephone:         (514) 283-1746 or (855) 209-1976
            Facsimile:         (514) 283-1798
            E-mail :      DFO.IceOpsStLawrence.GlacesOpsStLaurent.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
            Radiogram :      ESCOUMINS TRAFFIC
                                      QUÉBEC TRAFFIC

(b)For general information on ice conditions and icebreaker assistance in Chaleur Bay, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador waters:

            Address:            ECAREG CANADA,
                                       10 Hudson Way
                                        Dartmouth, NS
                                        B2Y 3Z8
            E-mail:              Hlxecareg1@innav.gc.ca
            Telephone:       902-426-4956
            Telex:       019-22510
            Facsimile:       902-426-4483
            Ice E-mail:          Iceatl@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
            Ice Telephone:     (709) 772-2078

3St. Lawrence River

In the St. Lawrence River west of longitude 66°00'W to Montréal, ship movement is under the general control of the Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) system. During the winter navigation season, the ice operation centre will provide, via "Escoumins Traffic", "Québec Traffic", or "Montréal Traffic", the recommended ice routes to be used.

For general information on ice conditions and icebreaker assistance:

            Address:          Canadian Coast Guard,
                                     Regional Operations Centre,
                                     105 McGill Street,
                                     Montréal, QC, H2Y 2E7
            Telephone:       (514) 283-1746 or (855) 209-1976
            Facsimile:         (514) 283-1798
            E-mail :      DFO.IceOpsStLawrence.GlacesOpsStLaurent.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
            Radiogram :      Escoumins Traffic
                                      Québec Traffic

4Canadian Great Lakes

Vessels entering Canadian waters of the Great Lakes may obtain ice information, routing advice and request icebreaker assistance by contacting the following address:

            Address:            Canadian Coast Guard,
                                       Central & Arctic Region,
                                       Regional Operations Centre,
                                       105 Mc Gill Street,
                                       Montréal, QC, H2Y 2E7
            Telephone:         (514) 283-2784 or (855) 209-1976
            Facsimile:          (514) 283-1798
            E-mail :           DFO.IceOpsGreatLakes.GlacesOpsGrandsLacs.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
            Radiogram :      SARNIA TRAFFIC

5General Remarks

A limited number of icebreakers are available for the support of shipping and these are heavily committed. It is emphasized, therefore, that it may not be possible to provide icebreaker support at short notice. In order to make the most efficient use of all available resources, it is important that the MCTS Centre’s are kept informed of the position and projected movements of vessels in Canadian waters.



Icebreaking web site:


General Information:


Authority: Canadian Coast Guard