High Arctic Haulers·Video

The sealift is a critical part of survival in remote Arctic communities

Arctic communities gamble on a fleet of cargo ships to deliver the supplies they need to survive.

This fleet of cargo ships has a short window to get many of life's necessities to many Northern communities

The Journey

3 years ago
Duration 1:32
Once a year, a fleet of Desgagnés cargo ships braves the unpredictable Arctic waters to resupply some of the most isolated communities in Canada.

"It is our roads, it is our survival. It is our necessity," says former Iqaluit mayor Madeleine Redfern.

As a leader of a large Arctic community that's not accessible by road, Madeleine knows the importance of the annual visit of the Sedna Desgagnés, a cargo ship that brings essential supplies to the city. 

It is our roads, it is our survival. It is our necessity.- Madeline Redfern, former Mayor of Iqaluit

The Sedna is one of several cargo ships that race against time to reach isolated Arctic communities who rely on them for everything from diapers to construction machinery.

In this area of Canada, where summers are very short, there is only a small window of time each year to navigate the tumultuous waters before the waterways freeze over and reaching these communities becomes impossible.

For many Nunavut communities, the Desgagnés Segna is a crucial link to the rest of Canada. (High Arctic Haulers/CBC)

"We have to be there when there's no ice. We've got to get it right—and right the first time," says Michel Duplain, captain of the Sedna Desgagnés.