The Canadian government announced a series of coast guard shipbuilding initiatives that include the construction of 18 new vessels. The Coast Guard is set to receive two new Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships, modified for Coast Guard missions. Irving Shipbuilding is already building a fleet of six AOPS for the Royal Canadian Navy. The 5,200-ton ships are 103.6 meters long and have an open-water speed of 17 knots and a range of 6,800 nautical miles.
The Coast Guard is also investing in a fleet of up to 16 Multi-Purpose Vessels, which will conduct a variety of missions including light icebreaking, environmental response, and offshore search and rescue. These vessels will be constructed at Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards.
The government estimates these 18 vessels will cost CAD15.7 billion ($11.7 billion). This figure includes construction, logistics and support, management and infrastructure costs, as well as contingency funding for unexpected costs. The program budget is an early estimate, however, and is likely to change. The cost of each ship remains to be seen, and will be announced after contracts have been negotiated.
The government also plans to pursue a competition for a new class of small Mid-Shore Multimission Ships, which will be utilized in shallower waters and for mid-shore science operations.
To support future shipbuilding requirements, the government plans to add a third shipyard as a partner under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. Under the original framework of the NSS, Irving Shipbuilding was tasked with constructing combat vessels for the Navy, while Vancouver Shipyards was put in charge of building non-combat vessels. A competitive process will be used to select the third shipyard in the coming months.
Quebec-based Davie is a frontrunner to be the third NSS partner. Davie has conducted a wide range of work for the Navy and Coast Guard. For example, the company converted a commercial container ship into a Navy supply ship, helps maintain the Navy’s Halifax class frigates, and received a contract for the acquisition and conversion of three medium Anchor Handling Tug Supply icebreakers for the Coast Guard.