Mark, I can't do it. I have tried but I can't help myself.
Canada has exchanged shots over fish. Britain and Iceland have bumped over fish. China and Vietnam, Italy and Greece, and France and Spain. The US arrests Canadian fishermen in disputed waters. Personally I know of American fishermen trading shots over fishing spots in the North Pacific and American trawlers outrunning Russian Coast Guards.
The Inuit have been complaining about Greenlanders poaching bears on Baffin Island and lack of control over the shrimp fishery. Poachers are a sufficiently lawless bunch that Park Wardens and Game Officers have been asking to be armed for years - and have been subsequently told not to enforce the laws - leave that up to the RCMP.
Piracy is a common enough event where there is inadequate supervision of the seas. We don't have piracy because we don't have ships using the arctic. Presumably if we do have ships up there, and we don't police the area vigorously then piracy becomes an issue.
We have not yet got to bumping hulls with the Danish Navy over Hans Island, or the US over fishing in the Beaufort but given open water......
The USCG seems to feel the need to be heavily armed so as to be able to interdict smugglers of all stripes.
I agree - the Coast Guard needs to have its ice-breaking fleet renewed, heavied up and probably expanded. But I can't believe that you can bridge the culture gap within that organisation between those that are comfortable with shooting and being shot at and those that aren't. You have the Park Warden, Border Services issue all over again.
The preferred solution seems to be to call for the RCMP to come along to do the dangerous bits. And that isn't such a bad idea. It might make more sense to put the RCMP onto border and internal policing duties with additional numbers and relieve them of some of their other "security investigation" files. Apply that paramilitary culture to a paramilitary environment.
But can you tell me that Coast Guard vessels, even if they were armed with guns manned by the RCMP, would be comfortable closing with other vessels that are shooting back? You say that you work now with the expectation that people will obey the law and cooperate. People don't obey the law and cooperate on the 401 or at Yonge and Bloor. Why would they do it any more willingly 500 miles from the nearest witness?
It seems to me to be a much better division of labour to have the Coast Guard operating the SAR, the aids to navigation, the permissive enforcement of civil law, support for research and hydrography etc while the Navy trails along on the horizon reminding the locals to behave and play nice. With these A/OPVs the Navy can more closely escort CG breakers, or perhaps it should be that the CG breakers could create highways in the ice that commercial ships can transit and the Navy patrol.
Cheers Mark ------ What Round Number is this? I have lost count. ;D
1995 - Canada (a DFO vessel) fired on the Spanish trawler Estai
1) China and Vietnam have exchanged gunshots over fishing rights surrounding the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
2) Italy and Greece have squabbled over the former’s use of drift nets in the Mediterranean.
3) The U.S. Coast Guard has arrested Canadian fishing boats in waters that both countries claim off the British Columbia coast north of the Queen Charlotte Islands.
4) France and Spain, allies in the confrontation with Canada over turbot, have themselves traded machine-gun fire in a dispute over fishing in the Bay of Biscay.
Britain and Iceland Cod Wars.
The first 'Cod war' took place in 1958, when Iceland, extended its coastal fishing limit, from 4 miles, to 12 miles.
The Second Cod War started in 1972 when Iceland extended its coastal non-fishing limit to 50 miles.
It ended with an agreement between the two countries that limited British fishing to restricted areas, within the 50-mile limit.
This agreement was valid for two years and expired on November 13 1975, when the third "Cod War" started.
Between November 1975, and June 1976, the cod brought two NATO allies to the brink of war.
Great Britain and Iceland confronted each other as Iceland proclaimed its authority to 200 miles from its coastline.
British trawlers had their nets cut by Icelandic Coast Guard vessels and there were numerous rammings between Icelandic ships and British trawlers and frigates.
Iceland claimed that it was merely enforcing what would soon be international law.
International Maritime Bureau live map on Piracy Attacks
No attacks in the Arctic but, there again, no ships in the Arctic.
Edit: I just can't see anybody running down a fleeing ship in an icefield with an ice-breaker. Get out the helicopter. Get out the snowmobile. Or get out and walk and you could catch up faster.