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Tuesday, August 6, 2019 

Canada is launching a programme to replace some of the fleet of ageing vessels operated by its Coast Guard service.

Hon Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, has formally announced that the Coast Guard will be procuring six new program icebreakers to replace its current ageing ice breaking fleet.

Canada relies on the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) to protect mariners and the marine environment, and to ensure the safe and efficient movement of ships in Eastern Canada, the St Lawrence waterway and the Great Lakes. With continued growth in commercial shipping and with climate change already affecting communities, demands on the Coast Guard continue to grow.

CCG provides critical icebreaking services to ensure commercial ships and ferries have access to Canadian ports during the winter time, and supports summer re-supply activities in Canada’s Arctic. Many of its vessels are over 30 years old, the launch dates of some now being over 50 years ago. Although there have been comprehensive refits carried out over the years, the current fleet is unable to keep pace with modern efficiency and environmental standards.

Minister Wilkinson also announced, on behalf of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, that the Government of Canada is officially launching a competitive process, through an Invitation to Qualify, to add a third Canadian shipyard as a strategic partner under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). This new shipyard will build the new program icebreakers for the Coast Guard.

Wilkinson said: “The Canadian Coast Guard saves lives at sea, maintains safe shipping, enables an otherwise ice-choked economy, protects the marine environment and supports Canadian sovereign presence in the Arctic. Demands on the Coast Guard will only grow as the impacts of climate change become more frequent and intense. By adding the new program icebreakers to renew the fleet, we are ensuring the women and men of the Canadian Coast Guard have the equipment they need to deliver icebreaking services in the Arctic, on the St. Lawrence waterway and on Canada’s East Coast.”

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