Canada's special forces want private sector to be watchdog on the high seas


Wrath of Heaven?
Jan 15, 2009
MB, Winnipeg
KINGSTON, Ont. - Canada's special forces are turning to the private sector for help in early warning of possible terror threats coming from the sea.

The ultra-secret organization is tapping into an existing fisheries surveillance contract with Provincial Airlines Ltd., a subsidiary of Provincial Aerospace Ltd. of St. John’s, N.L., to monitor the movements of vessels of interest off the country's coastline.

A briefing note, prepared for the former commander of the elite forces, says there are lots of government aircraft, including military and RCMP helicopters for land-based emergencies, but "options are significantly reduced" when it comes to maritime threats.

The military primarily uses CP-140 Auroras for intelligence and surveillance missions, but the future for the nearly three decade-old aircraft fleet remains a question mark, despite recent upgrades to the electronics.

Further structural upgrades to the four-engine plane — dubbed a Flying Winnebago by some of its crews — are a matter of debate, according to Defence Department sources.

The Fisheries Department contracts out its surveillance to the private airline and the military already piggy-backs on that agreement, paying for a specific amount of flying time on Super King Air 200 planes, which fly out of St. John's, Halifax and Comox, B.C.
More at link.