Beth Penney Beth.Penney@thetelegram.com

Rear-Admiral Craig Baines assumed the position of commander of Joint Task Force Atlantic and Maritime Forces Atlantic in September.

Originally from Saskatchewan, Baines just completed three years as commander of Canadian Fleet Atlantic before accepting his new role.

Many responsibilities come with the position. Baines told The Telegram that when it comes to Newfoundland and Labrador, search and rescue is the area where the province receives the most help from the military.

“Being an island certainly does make Newfoundland lean on us more for the search and rescue aspect of what we do,” said Baines. “Newfoundland and Labrador would also be one of our primary concerns for any domestic type of event like fires or floods.”

Search and rescue is only one of the responsibilities that Baines has inherited. He is also in charge of all operations for the Canadian Navy, no matter where they take place in the world.

He is in charge of readiness, having ships and sailors prepared to go on operations, and even of making sure he knows where the submarines are in the Atlantic.

Baines is in St. John’s for the Maritime and Arctic Security and Safety conference being held at the St. John’s Convention Centre on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

The title of his brief is “Arctic Blue,” where he will discuss the Royal Canadian Navy’s engagement in regards to presence, partnership, people and persistence in the Arctic.

“Under those four themes I’m basically talking about how the Royal Canadian Navy works with other partners to make sure that we are meeting the government’s intent as far as establishing and enforcing sovereignty in the Arctic,” said Baines.

Baines says that for the military, being part of the community is very important.

“If something does happen, the trust has already been established between the military and the provincial authorities,” he said. “It’s important that we get to know each other, so that in times of crisis we can work together more easily.”