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Canada's Coast Guard Begins Historic Fleet Recapitalization

The future Canadian Coast Guard MPV (Seaspan)
The future Canadian Coast Guard MPV (Seaspan)

Published Mar 31, 2024 3:11 AM by The Maritime Executive

After years of planning, the building of modern vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) is finally set to commence following the award of multi-million contracts to Canadian shipyards.

The Canadian federal government announced that Seaspan Shipyards will construct the first six multi-purpose vessels (MPV) while Chantier Davie will undertake initial works related to the construction of new Program Icebreakers for the CCG.

For the MPVs, Seaspan will receive C$490 million to immediately commence works on two of the vessels that are touted to be highly versatile icebreaking ships designed with multi-mission capabilities. The shipyard was awarded the construction engineering and long lead items contracts following the completion of the vessel’s basic design review late last year.

The MPVs will be Polar Class 4 vessels, allowing them to carry out multiple missions including icebreaking in moderate ice conditions and assisting in search and rescue, environmental response, emergency towing, and maintaining aids to navigation.

The new fleet of MPVs will replace the existing fleet of high endurance multi-tasked vessels and medium endurance multi-tasked vessels. Construction of the vessels is part of the Canadian government’s plans to renew the CCG fleet under a C$15.7 billion investment unveiled in 2019. The government is targeting 16 MPVs in total.

The MPVs are expected to form the backbone of the modern CCG fleet and are part of the wider National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). Delivery of the first vessel is slated for 2030, with deliveries continuing until the mid-2040s.

“The MPV project will help ensure that members of the CCG have versatile vessels to complete essential missions in Canada’s oceans and waterways,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

With a displacement of 8,500 tons, the MPVs will be 99.9 meters long and 20.3 meters wide, and able to accommodate up to 50 personnel. Their area of operation will include Canada’s eastern and western seaboards, the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, Gulf of St. Lawrence, the St. Lawrence River, the Great Lakes and the western and lower Arctic.

On its part, Chantier Davie has secured a C$19.6-million contract to begin work to develop the initial design for the Program Icebreakers. The intended six vessels will replace the aging CCG’s medium icebreakers that have become extremely expensive to maintain.