A bit of international cooperation was on display Wednesday when U.S. and Canadian coast guard officials signed an update of an agreement for planning for and organizing responses to transboundary pollution in the maritime area of Dixon Entrance.
The recently revised Dixon Entrance Annex to the Canada-United States Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan was signed in Juneau by U.S. Coast Guard 17th District Commander Rear Adm. Matthew T. Bell Jr., and Canadian Coast Guard Western Region Assistant Commissioner Roger Girouard.
The annex is one of five annexes included within the overall Canada-U.S. Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan, according to U.S. Coast Guard information.
Each annex is specific to a geographic area. Two of the annexes — Annex 4 (Beaufort Sea) and Annex 5 (Dixon Entrance) — involve collaboration by the U.S. Coast Guard 17th District in Alaska and the Canadian Coast Guard.
The updated annex for Dixon Entrance includes “basic content and format changes in accordance with new national guidelines, clearer pollution notification and response protocols, and refreshed references to U.S. Customs Service procedures for transboundary movement of personnel and resources,” according to the U.S. Coast Guard announcement.
It’s good to know that the United States and Canada continue to work together on the ability to respond to a pollution incident in this area that affects both countries.
This waterway accommodates cargo barge, fuel barge, commercial fishery, ferry, cruise ship, recreational vessel and other maritime traffic. An incident on one side of the maritime boundary could quickly affect the other side, and it behooves both nations to be able to launch a coordinated response to mitigate negative effects.
The Dixon Entrance annex — which, along with the other four annexes, has been of the broader agreement since 1983 — accomplishes the framework for that type of response.
It’s a positive aspect of international cooperation, and especially important in this region that features a long international border and several issues that require the cooperative attention of both nations.