Akademik Ioffe rescue cost heads for C$1m

The rescue of grounded cruise ship Academic Ioffe in Nunavut, Arctic Canada, cost Canada’s Armed Forces C$513,000. The Canadian taxpayer is currently on the hook for the cost of the armed forces rescuing 162 passengers and crew on the ship, which was carrying tourists and researchers when she hit a rock.

The C$513,000 does not include expenses incurred by the Canadian Coast Guard, which sent two of its icebreakers to the scene to assist.

The US-federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans said that it did not calculate and allocate costs on a case-by-case basis, because search and rescue tasks were part of daily operations.

A Canadian CG spokesperson said that “when it comes to helping and saving human lives, the Canadian Coast Guard does not seek reimbursement for costs”.

The cost was thought likely to raise the pressure on the Canadian government to either ask tour companies to stick to major shipping routes or to accept liability for the cost of rescues.

It was observed that the first volume of the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual says that demanding reimbursement could “prompt those in danger to delay calling for assistance until it is either too late to save them, or until the resulting level of [search and rescue] effort needed is much greater.”