Canadian Coast Guard to get two new Arctic patrol ships

New vessels part of broader plan to revamp aging fleet.

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An artist’s impression of the Harry DeWolf-class Arctic/Offshore Patrol Vessel (Royal Canadian Navy)

The Canadian government will build two new Arctic and offshore patrol ships for its Coast Guard, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Wednesday.

These ships will be built by Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Six similar ships are currently being built for the Royal Canadian Navy.

These 425-foot vessels are meant to work in the North during the navigable season, roughly from July to October, and can travel in medium first-year ice up to a three feet thick.

The first of these vessels to be completed is the HMCS Harry DeWolf, which launched in September.

This coming Monday, May 27, a news conference is planned in Iqaluit “to mark the formalization of a relationship between the Royal Canadian Navy and Inuit through the first affiliation between the future HMCS Harry DeWolf and the Qikiqtani region of Nunavut,” according to a news release.

Nunavut’s premier, the president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and representatives of the Royal Canadian Navy are all set to attend the event at Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum.

The new Arctic patrol vessels form part of a broader plan to renew Canada’s Coast Guard. In all, 18 large ships will be built at a cost of C$15.7 billion ($11.7 billion), Trudeau said, during his announcement in Vancouver.

[New naval ships advance Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic]

An accompanying news release acknowledged that many of Canada’s Coast Guard vessels are in need of replacement.

“The Canadian Coast Guard saves lives, protects the environment, and helps our economy grow, while keeping our waters safe, secure, and open,” the release states. “But the Coast Guard fleet is aging, with most ships beyond their normal life expectancy. There is an urgent need to renew the fleet to ensure the Coast Guard can continue its essential and, often, life-saving work.”

Another C$2 billion will be spent on repairing Canada’s existing Coast Guard fleet.