The Canadian Coast Guard is to join the navy in operating arctic and offshore patrol ships (AOPS) after the government awarded a two-ship contract to Halifax-based shipbuilder Irving Shipbuilding.
Irving is already building six AOPS for the Royal Canadian Navy, with the first unit in the class, the future HMCS Harry DeWolf, already in water and on trials.
Construction of the additional AOPS for the Coast Guard is expected to address the threat layoffs posed by an employment gap before the Canadian Surface Combatants start construction in 2023.
The two-ship contract is part of a new plan for the strengthening of the coast guard fleet announced by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau on May 22.
The fleet renewal plan will see the construction of up to 18 new large ships. In addition to the Irving-built AOPS, up to sixteen multi-purpose vessels to support light icebreaking, environmental response, and offshore search and rescue will be built by Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards in British Columbia.
Total funding for the 18 new large ships is CAD 15.7 billion.
The prime minister further revealed that the government intends to add a third Canadian shipyard as a partner under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The government will move forward with a competitive process to select the third shipyard in the coming months.