“Canada taps Davie for three AHTS-conversion medium icebreakers”–Marine Log


Our resident icebreaker expert, Tups, told us in a comment this was coming. Marine Log confirms the official announcement.

“On behalf of the Canadian Coast Guard, Public Services and Procurement Canada has issued an Advanced Contract Award Notice (ACAN) to shipbuilder Chantier Davie of Lévis, Quebec, for the acquisition and conversion of three medium commercial icebreakers.

“… The three candidate ships proposed by Project Resolute for this role are the Viking Supply Ships AB vessels Tor Viking II, Balder Viking and Vidar Viking.

There was an earlier proposal to lease these three ships and the icebreaking anchor handling vessel Aiviq, but these three will be purchased and there is no mention of the Aiviq in the announcement.

Based on the accompanying illustration, conversion will add a helo deck and hangar. These ships are 82 meters (276 ft) in length, 18 m (59 ft) of beam, and 18,300 HP.

The first of these is expected to go to work this winter.

25 thoughts on ““Canada taps Davie for three AHTS-conversion medium icebreakers”–Marine Log

    • Because the USCG does not want a) ships built to full commercial specifications, b) second-hand ships or c) ships built at foreign shipyards.

      There is, of course, one US-built icebreaking AHTS currently without work, but the USCG didn’t appear to like it very much.

      • Chuck IF the USCG needs interim ships then your rationale is myopic. the method to acquire short-term ship assets is chartering and that by definition means the charterer does not have complete control over the chartered ship. They are the 80% solution. And are quicker to procure and easier to dipose of.

        Buying any ship for the US govt is time consuming and costly. SO three old birds in hand for 5 years versus wait many years for the golden goose?

  1. Don’t expect to see these Medium Icebreakers any time soon! The Canadian Government has Push Back the Delivery Date to 2028…

      • A total of Eight Vessels are being built! Three Heavy Icebreakers, Three Medium Icebreakers and Two AOR Supply Vessels. The Three Medium Icebreakers are to be used in the Canadian Great Lakes near the Saint Lawrence Seaway…

      • Davie’s has made several trips to the Aiviq located in Florida. North American Shipyards of Larose, Louisiana and LaShip Shipyards in Houma, Louisiana are doing the conversions…

      • Sorry don’t have them, didn’t bother to write them down. To busy trying to find Construction Cost of New Icebreakers and why the US Government wasn’t actively looking to find a near term or foreseeable solution to the Icebreaker question…

      • Secundius, there are no second-hand heavy polar icebreakers available in the market.

  2. Secundius those yards are part of the Chouest Bros empire and where other US govt ice-capable ships have been built. Where in FLA is the Aiviq?

  3. In the meanwhile, the Canadian shipping company Fednav claims they could provide interim icebreakers for the CCG at CA$240 million each with the delivery of the first vessel in 24 months, but they would be built overseas at Havyard shipyard in Norway, owned by Fednav, and leased to the Coast Guard.

    The article is in French, but Google Translate does quite a good job. There’s also a couple of conceptual renderings.


    Havyard has previously built the three Viking AHTS icebreakers the CCG is now acquiring, as well as three similar ships for Russia. It should be noted that none of these are heavy diesel-electric icebreakers, but more similar to Aiviq in terms of primary mission (AHTS/offshore) and vessel configuration (diesel-mechanical shaftlines with CP propellers and nozzles):


  4. The project is moving forward:


    CA$610 million feels like a lot for three 20-year-old vessels plus conversion for the first one. According to Viking’s press release, the impact to net result is US$274 million but I don’t know this is directly translatable to the purchase price.


    All three ships have left their long-term layup and are now anchored off Skagen, likely awaiting bunkers for Atlantic crossing.

  5. Apparently these “interim” vessels will remain in service for the next 15 to 20 years. Note that they are already almost 20 years old, meaning that the CCG is planning on extracting 35 to 40 years of service life in total from commercial-spec vessels probably designed with a 25-30-year service life.


    The funny thing is that the “newest” (by commissioning date) CCG icebreaker, CCGS Terry Fox, was also originally a 1983-built commercial Beaufort Sea offshore icebreaker that was first leased as an interim solution during the refit of CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent and then purchased to replace CCGS John A. Macdonald. With no replacement vessel in sight, this will truly be a situation where an interim vessel will be replaced by another interim vessel.

    Considering that the CCG is not a military organization (unlike the USCG), perhaps cutting down the costs by operating commercial-spec icebreakers is not such a bad idea?

    However, by the time these interim icebreakers “expire”, every single Canadian icebreaker currently in service needs replacement. The only exception is the proposed polar icebreaker, CCGS John G. Diefenbaker, and we still don’t know if it’s actually going to be built…

  6. It’s a first time in a long while a new icebreaker has been painted to these colors:

  7. Fourth interim icebreaker in the pipeline:


    This time they are looking for a small, shallow-draught vessel. I couldn’t come up with more than a handful of alternatives, and some of those may not be available for purchase. Of course, considering how generously the CCG paid for Davie’s interim medium icebreakers, some shipowners may be willing to part ways with their existing vessels and just order a brand new one on the following day…

      • That’s definitely not a stillborn idea if they meet the requirements.

        I made a quick database lookup and within the given maximum main dimension and minimum length of 40 m to rule out small tugboats (Bay class is 42.7 m/140 ft). Worldwide, there are 38 extant ships with ice class modifiers “1A”, “1A Super” or “Icebreaking” that are less than 25 years old (delivered after January 1997). I’d say the realistic pool of existing vessels that could be modified to meet the CCG’s interim light icebreaker requirements is less than 20, many of which are contracted elsewhere.

  8. Pingback: “Canadian coast guard welcomes first ‘new’ icebreaker” –Workboat | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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