Canadian shipbuilder Seaspan Shipyards has been awarded a CAD$66 million contract to start construction of Joint Support Ships (JSS) for the Royal Canadian Navy.
Starting work in the next two months, Seaspan will build up to 52 blocks that will eventually constitute complete ships.
The new joint support ships will provide fuel, ammunition, spare parts, food, and water to Canadian and allied vessels. The two Protecteur-class ships, as the class will be named, will replace the Royal Canadian Navy’s auxiliary oiler replenishment vessels.
“Seaspan Shipyards is a proud partner to the government of Canada under the National Shipbuilding Strategy,” said Brian Carter, president & CEO of Seaspan Shipyards. “By starting construction on the Joint Support Ships, our company is supporting the operational needs of the Royal Canadian Navy and the long-term success of Canada’s shipbuilding industry.”
Under the Canadian National Shipbuilding Strategy, Seaspan is responsible for the construction of as many as 17 non-combat vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy. The JSS were expected to start construction after a ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems design based on the German Navy’s Berlin-class support ship was selected in 2013, but the start of construction has been subject to a number of delays.
Even with this contract, building blocks for JSS vessels is a way of ensuring employment for Seaspan workers. Construction of JSS blocks is aimed at bridging a gap between work on three Coast Guard fisheries vessels which will be completed before the design for a new coast guard ocean science ship is ready.