Canada will build TWO polar icebreakers

Written by Nick Blenkey
Concept drawing of polar icebreaker

Conceptual rendering of Canada's planned polar icebreake released by the Canadian Coast Guard

The Government of Canada is to move forward with the construction of two Polar icebreakers under Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS).

One will be built by Seaspan Shipyards in Vancouver, British Columbia. The other will be built by Davie Shipbuilding of Lévis, Quebec, subject to the successful completion of its ongoing selection process as the third strategic partner for large ships construction under the NSS.

According to the official statement, this procurement approach will ensure at least one polar icebreaker is delivered by 2030 when the current CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent is expected to retire from service. Precise timing of the icebreaker deliveries will be determined once shipyard agreements are in place.

Both new Polar icebreakers will have capacity and ability beyond that of the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent.

There’s nothing in the official release about the cots of building the two ships, but early estimates are that their construction will generate approximately 300 jobs per vessel at the shipyards, and 2,500 jobs across the Canadian marine supply chain.

Seaspan and Davie have been in a fierce competition to build what was assumed would be one polar icebreaker. In greeting today’s announcement neither yard appeared to acknowledge that the other had also been selected.

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