Photo: CCGS Private Robertson V.C. on Trials, Halifax Harbour, July 3/2012, Ziobrop, halifaxshippingnews.ca
If you see a family resemblance to the Webber Class Fast Response Cutters, it is not your imagination. These are based on the Damen 4207 patrol boat design (42 meters long, 7 meter beam) while the FRCs are based on the closely related Damen 4708 (47 meters long, 8 meter beam). Boats from this family of designs are used by 13 countries. It appears the USCG will have the largest fleet with 58 of the vessels currently planned, but in addition to Canada’s nine, Mexico already has at least two and reportedly may build up to 28. Only South Africa and the US use the larger 47 meter version.
The contract for the nine vessels reportedly was for $194M (presumably Canadian $). With first steel cut in 2010 and the last of the nine scheduled for delivery in 2013, they seem to be moving the project along smartly.
“Five of the vessels will be used primarily to support Fisheries and Oceans Canada 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.”
The Canadian Coast Guard is not a military service and their vessels are not armed. But there has been talk about arming these and other Canadian Coast Guard vessels.
Like the USCG vessels. these little ships are named after heroes. Unlike the American vessels, the heroes include representatives from other services, including a fisheries officer, Mounties, and the Canadian Army in addition to the Canadian Coast Guard.
One thing I found interesting is that while the Webber class have a nominal endurance of five days, the Canadian vessels are claimed to have an endurance of two weeks. I’ve always suspected the Webbers were capable of more.