The Canadian government has finally selected a ship design for the Joint Support Ships being acquired for the Royal Canadian Navy as part of its National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. After a number of false starts, Ottawa has opted for the less risky option of an off-the-shelf design in the form of the German Navy’s Berlin class task group supply vessel, rather than a completely new design from BMT Fleet Technology that was also under consideration.
The cdn$2.6 billion ships are still years away from replacing the RCN’s two Protecteur class tankers, both of which are nearly 45 years old. Seaspan Marine, the North Vancouver shipyard selected to build the new supply ships, needs to modernise its facilities before construction can begin, and also resolve a scheduling conflict.
The same yard has also been contracted to build icebreakers for the Canadian Coast Guard, but does not have the capacity to work on both projects at the same time. In the meantime, the Berlin class plans will be tailored to Canadian requirements by ThyssenKrup Marine Systems.
Canada is to replace its veteran A ORs with two or three ships based on the German Navy’s Berlin class.