Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever


September 3, 2009

New vessels ordered for Canadian Coast Guard

Canada has now placed the much anticipated contract for the Canadian Coast Guard's new mid-shore patrol vessels.

Originally it was planned that this would be a 12 ship program. However Canadian government planners hit an obstacle familiar to their American counterparts--shipbuilders wanted more money for the ships than the government wanted to pay.

A new draft RFP for the program was issued February 26 and comments were received from 9 companies. A revised RFP--still for 12 vessels--was issued on April 1.

Yesterday, Canadian ministers announced that a C$194 million contract for nine new mid-shore patrol vessels has been awarded to Irving Shipbuilding Inc., based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Preliminary work on the vessels is to begin immediately. The first vessel should be ready for service in 2011. All nine vessels will be delivered by 2013.

Halifax Shipyard estimates up to 155 people will be employed by the project over the next four years. For the greater Halifax community this means an added $35 million in payroll. As well, the company estimated that approximately 50 local Nova Scotian suppliers will benefit from about $32 million in purchases of local goods and services. This is in addition to 130 estimated suppliers from the rest of Canada.

The new mid-shore patrol vessels will replace existing vessels nearing the end of their life expectancies. Five of the vessels will be used primarily to support Department of Fisheries and Oceans conservation and protection programs in the Maritimes, Quebec and Pacific Regions.

The other four vessels will be used in a joint program with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to enhance the maritime security along the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Seaway system.

Nova Scotia premier Darrell Dexter said yesterday that the province is providing Irving Shipbuilding a C$12.2 million performance guarantee through its Industrial Expansion Fund. He said the contract will provide 50 Nova Scotian suppliers with the opportunity to bid on goods and services totalling $32 million.

Nova Scotia has a long history of working together with Irving Shipbuilding. All partnerships with Irving have been successful resulting in major economic benefits for Nova Scotia.

Yesterday's various announcements were light on technical details, but the RFP's were for medium sized vessels of 37 43 m that can operate up to 120 nm offshore on a 24/7 watch-keeping basis for up to 14 days. The RFP's called for a top speed of at least 25 knots an carriage of two RHIB's.

The RFP's called for a steel monohull based on an exist-ing proven parent design that has been used in the construction of vessels that have been in service for a minimum of two years and a minimum of 1,000 hours in-service operation. As this requirement concerns the procurement of goods to be used for the national security of Canada, a National Security Exception [NSE] has been invoked, and as such trade agreements do not apply.

Although Canadian official sources have not said much about the parent design, and only released the tiny little graphic in the insert, two hawk eyed Marine Log readers recognized it as a Damen Stan Patrol 4207.

Subsequently Damen issued a release confirming this and saying that the "the contract envisions nine vessels with an option for another three, of which the first vessel is to be delivered within 24 months after contract award. Irving Shipbuilding Inc. contracted Damen for the basic design.

The Damen Stan Patrol 4207 is a versatile 143 foot patrol vessel with an impressive track record. Since the first vessel was delivered in 1997 already over 25 have been delivered to Coastguard like organizations in the U.K., The Netherlands, Vietnam, Albania, Jamaica, Barbados.

The U.K. Border Agency (created in its present form in 2008) says that four of its five cutters are Stan Patrol 4207 vessels, built by Damen Shipyards in Holland, and commissioned, at a rate of one a year, in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. At 42 m long and with a top speed of more than 26 knots, says the agency "this vessel boasts sophisticated surveillance and navigation equipment. It can accommodate up to 16 crew and can remain at sea for long periods in heavy weather conditions."

Each of the U.K. cutters can deploy a 7.4 m RHIB.


No mystery as to the parentage of five 47 ft motor lifeboats that Victoria Shipyards Co. Ltd. is to build for the Canadian Coastguard under a Canadian $19.6 million contract announced Monday.

These vessels will be the latest additions to the existing fleet of 31 47-foot motor lifeboats, introduced to the Canadian Coast Guard in 1999 and later. The basic design was obtained from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) following their extensive testing. The USCG design was modified to best fit the needs of the Canadian Coast Guard.

Funding for the five new vessels is provided under Canada's Economic Action Plan.

The new vessels will be used by the Canadian Coast Guard for Search and Rescue operations across the country. Two of the vessels will be based in British Columbia and one each in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

marine log logo