The Royal Canadian Navy laid the keel for its second Harry DeWolf-class arctic and offshore patrol vessel, future HMCS Margaret Brooke, on May 29.
The keel-laying ceremony took place at Halifax Shipyard and was marked by the placing of a coin onto the keel of the ship by Olivia Strowbridge, the first woman in a trade supervisory role at Halifax Shipyard, and its first female certified ship spray painter.
In shipbuilding tradition, this coin will remain embedded within the ship’s structure for its entire life, and will invite good luck for all who sail in it.
This ceremony was attended by Rear-Admiral John Newton, Commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic; Kevin McCoy, President of Irving Shipbuilding; and Commander Michele Tessier, the future Commanding Officer of HMCS Margaret Brooke, among others.
Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander of the RCN, says the presence of Cdr Tessier held special significance “I could not be more proud to have the ship’s future commanding officer there to participate and represent our generation as we look to follow in the wake of our naval heroes.”
In traditional ship construction, the keel typically extends the entire length of the vessel, running along the bottom of the ship and serving as its “backbone”. Today, many ships, including the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels, are instead constructed in modules or blocks, fabricated separately then brought together to form the superstructure of the ship. However, the keel-laying tradition has endured.
HMCS Margaret Brooke is the second in an initial block of six vessels ordered by the RCN under a $2.3 billion contract in January 2015. Canada intends to procure up to 21 vessels that will renew its combatant fleet over the next 30 years under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.
The 103-meter ship will displace 6,440 tonnes and is expected to be launched in a naming/launching ceremony in 2019.