A steel-cutting ceremony at Seaspan’s Vancouver shipyard marked the start of construction of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Joint Support Ships.
The ceremony was attended by Canadian defense minister Harjit S. Sajjan.
Under a CAD$66 million contract announced earlier this month, Seaspan will build up to 52 blocks that will eventually constitute complete ships.
The shipyard will be building JSS blocks until the design for a new coast guard ocean science ship is ready. Starting work on JSS blocks is a way of keeping Vancuver shipbuilders busy as current works on three Coast Guard fisheries vessels will be completed before the ocean science ship design is ready.
The JSS will be replenishment ships crewed by 240 sailors whose task will be to ensure surface combatant vessels can stay at sea longer.
The two JSS will replace the former Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessels.
The construction start of the JSS in June 2018 will result in the first JSS being delivered in 2022/23, and the second in 2023/24.
After the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, the JSS is the second class of Royal Canadian Navy ships to begin construction in Canadian shipyards, as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.
“Today marks an important milestone for the women and men serving in the Royal Canadian Navy as we begin construction of another element of our blue water navy. The Joint Support Ships will be critical assets to Canada and will greatly contribute to the future success of our operations,” defense minister Harjit S. Sajjan said.