Canadian Coast Guard Plans to Order Up to 61 Small Vessels

New plan to bolster Canadian Coast Guard fleet promises a boost for Canada’s shipyards and marine businesses.

By Eric Haun

©dbvirago / Adobe Stock
Listen to this article

The Canadian Coast Guard has revealed big plans to invest in its fleet of small vessels.

Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, in May announced $2.5 billion CAD (roughly $1.8 billion USD) for the construction of up to 61 new small vessels and the ongoing replacement of small craft, barges and workboats within the Canadian Coast guard fleet.

“This is a critical investment that will help modernize the Canadian Coast Guard’s small vessel fleet,” Murray said. “We are making sure the Canadian Coast Guard has the equipment it needs to keep Canadians and Canada’s waterways safe, while also creating good-paying jobs across the country.”

The Coast Guard’s small vessels provide search and rescue services as well as assistance to disabled vessels and support aid to navigation programs, often operating in shallow coastal waters and inland lakes and rivers where larger ships cannot.

The Coast Guard said the new funding will help it to complete the renewal of its small vessel fleet, enabling the acquisition of up to 61 new vessels. These include six Mid-shore Multi-Mission Vessels; one Near-Shore Fishery Research Vessel; 34 Cape Class Search and Rescue Lifeboats; and 16 Specialty Vessels, including two Special NavAids Vessels, four Special Shallow Draft Buoy Tenders, four Inshore Science Vessels; four Special Enforcement Vessels, two Lake Class Vessels, and four Air Cushion Vehicles.

Procurement is underway for the construction of the first new vessel under the investment, a hybrid-electric Near-Shore Fishery Research Vessel designed by Robert Allan Ltd with propulsion and battery system by Aspin Kemp and Associates and deck equipment systems engineering Hawboldt Industries Ltd. A timeline for the remainder of the vessel acquisitions was not immediately available.

The investment falls under the Canada's National Shipbuilding Strategy, a long-term, multibillion-dollar government program focused on renewing the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy fleets while revitalizing the country’s marine industry, including shipyards and their suppliers.

“Through the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the government is providing the members of the Canadian Coast Guard with the ships they need to carry out their important work for Canadians,” said Helena Jaczek, Minister of Public Services and Procurement. “This significant investment also will create more jobs, generate significant economic benefits and help grow the marine industry throughout Canada.”

To date, contracts under the National Shipbuilding Strategy are estimated to have contributed approximately $21.26 billion ($1.93 billion annually) to Canada’s gross domestic product, and created or maintained over 18,000 jobs annually between 2012 and 2022.

Sixteen small vessels have been delivered to Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, including 14 Search and Rescue lifeboats and two Channel Survey and Sounding Vessels.

September 2023