Maritime & Northern safety and security issues

A retired maritime barrister, Joe Spears is a principal of the Horseshoe Bay Marine Group (HBMG) in West Vancouver Canada. He has a long-standing interest in all aspects of emergency response, regulatory law enforcement and governance, and the growing impact climate change has on these issues in Canada, an arctic and ocean nation. Joe has acted as ad hoc civil agent for the Attorney General of Canada and has prosecuted federal offenses on behalf of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. He has developed and delivered a national investigation course for Transport Canada Marine Safety and Security. A graduate of Dalhousie University, with a Masters from the London School of Economics, London, England in Sea-Law law, Economics and Policymaking, he has acted for various private sector organizations and government departments as a legal, policy and training advisor (including commercial interests and insurers). A certified mariner and pilot, Joe is a frequent lecturer, commentator and writer both domestically and internationally on these issues. Joe has been writing for FrontLine since 2008.

Articles by this writer

May 2018  |  Magazine

Hybrid warfare includes lawfare and is becoming a pressing area in need of strategic thinking and planning with a focus on the interconnectedness of threats.

June 2017  |  Opinion

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Terry Beech announced yesterday in Ottawa that the government of Canada was reversing the decision to cancel the Canadian Coast Guard's dive rescue program on Canada's West Coast.

May 2017  |  Opinion

With the wide variety of marine activity in the waters around Vancouver and Victoria, it is easy to see why the Canadian Coast Guard decision to cancel its only rescue diving program came as a shock.

May 2016  |  Magazine

The susceptibility of the physical network of submerged fiber-optic cables is a threat to the very backbone of the global internet. Do our adversaries have the ability to monitor underwater sensors or neutralize or sever fiber-optic cables in deep water during a time of conflict?

November 2015  |  Magazine

It’s time for a rejuvenated strategy for Search and Rescue ­that includes members of the First Nations.

November 2015  |  Magazine

The new mandate letter signals political will to prioritize the icebreaker capability.

November 2015  |  Opinion

The recent sinking during a whale watching expedition highlights the importance of a robust search and rescue capacity and marine response infrastructure that includes the First Nations.

March 2015  |  Magazine

The so-called “hard” landing of an Air Canada A320 Airbus at the Halifax Airport (YHZ) on March 28th, has called into question airport emergency response capabilities at the airport, and the larger issue of provision of navaids to strengthen international aviation safety.

September 2012  |  Magazine

Arctic tourism is creating a growing need for SAR in the North. The rise in Acrtic grounding incidents has shifted Canada’s focus to what needs to be done in the upcoming years for Arctic SAR.

December 2011  |  Magazine

The prevention and response capability to deal with marine pollution incidents is a key security issue.

September 2011  |  Magazine

A 737 jet aircraft owned by First Air crashed in heavy fog at Resolute Bay. Luckily it was during Operation Nanook.

March 2009  |  Magazine

The subject of SAR in the north is a very real and pressing issue. Canada must be prepared for any major incident – with resident resources at the ready.