Canada Announces They Will Be Building Two Polar Icebreakers –Press Release

Government of Canada announces Polar Icebreakers to enhance Canada’s Arctic presence and provide critical services to Canadians

From: Canadian Coast Guard

News release

May 6, 2021

Ottawa, ON – Canada has three oceans and the longest coastline in the world. Our nation’s blue economy depends on a strong Coast Guard fleet to keep mariners safe, protect our coasts and waterways, and deliver commercial goods and other vital services to Canadians.

The recent growth in commercial shipping, the serious impacts of climate change, and increased maritime activity in the Arctic have all highlighted Canada’s need for a renewed Coast Guard fleet.

Today the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, joined by the Quebec Lieutenant and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced the Government of Canada will move forward with the construction of two Polar icebreakers under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS).

Both new Polar icebreakers will have capacity and ability beyond that of Canada’s current largest icebreaker, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, and will both be built by Canadian shipyards. Early estimates are that the construction of these ships will generate approximately 300 jobs per vessel at the shipyards, and 2,500 jobs across the marine supply chain. The construction of these new ships is in addition to the $17.49 billion in contracts already awarded to shipyards large and small across Canada under the NSS that have resulted in the revitalization of Canada’s shipbuilding industry, and the creation of thousands of jobs already.

Seaspan Shipyards in Vancouver, British Columbia, which has proven its shipbuilding capability with the completion of the first class of large vessels under the NSS, will build one of the Polar icebreakers. The other Polar icebreaker will be built by Davie Shipbuilding of Lévis, Quebec, pending the successful completion of the ongoing selection process as the third strategic partner for large ships construction under the NSS. Both shipyards are expected to be supported by many small and medium-sized Canadian businesses across the country, ensuring that the construction of these ships will be a historic, cross-country effort to help drive Canada’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

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

With their enhanced capabilities, these larger, more powerful Polar icebreakers will enable the Coast Guard to conduct year-round operations in Canada’s Arctic. Their greater endurance will ensure they can operate at higher latitudes for longer periods, and will allow the fleet to better support Indigenous Peoples and northerners, strengthen Arctic sovereignty, advance high Arctic science, and better respond to maritime emergencies. 

Today’s announcement represents a large step forward in ensuring the Canadian Coast Guard has the equipment it needs. It will also have a lasting impact on Canadian marine industry, its workers and their suppliers. Through their construction and service, the Polar icebreakers will contribute to growing Canada’s blue economy and create more opportunities in our coastal communities. They will strengthen our Coast Guard for the long-term, and ensure that maritime services and science platforms are available year-round in Arctic waters.

Quotes

“The new Polar icebreakers will be a game-changer for Canada’s marine industry–both in their construction and the difference that a stronger presence in the Arctic will make. Built by Canadian shipyards, these vessels will enable the coast guard to conduct critical science, supply and other missions in our Arctic region year-round. Under the National Ship Building Strategy, we’re putting thousands of Canadians to work building a fleet that will serve those communities for decades.”

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“We are positioning Canada for the future by making investments today to build a more competitive economy. This includes investments to support the domestic construction of two new Polar icebreakers. The Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy will apply to these investments to strengthen Canada‘s shipbuilding industry and create good quality jobs for Canadians across the country.” 

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“The know-how and expertise of shipyard workers in the Quebec City area is well established. By planning the order for a polar icebreaker, we confirm our confidence in them and support hundreds of jobs on site and throughout the supply chain in our regions. We are here to support the economic recovery and create good jobs for families in the national capital, in the Chaudière-Appalaches region, and in all regions of Quebec.“

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Quebec Lieutenant and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

“This is a good day for North Vancouver, for Vancouver, for British Columbia and it’s a good day for Canada. Two Polar icebreakers will give Canada a year-round presence in the Arctic to help protect mariners, safeguard our marine environments, ensure the safe and efficient movement of ships, and protect our borders. At the same time, we are continuing to build a thriving domestic shipbuilding industry, creating thousands of jobs and generating economic growth and prosperity in communities across British Columbia and Canada.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Today’s announcement is further demonstration of the National Shipbuilding Strategy’s success in bringing together the Canadian marine industry to strengthen and renew our federal fleets. We are honoured to continue to support the delivery of modern, safe and effective vessels to members of the Canadian Coast Guard, which also creates jobs and supports our country’s shipbuilding industry. Thanks to the NSS, these ships will be built at home and support our communities from coast to coast to coast.”  

The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement

“This National Shipbuilding Strategy major investment marks an important step in renewing the Coast Guard’s fleet, and equipping our members with modern, safe and reliable ships so they can continue delivering critical services from coast to coast to coast. We look forward to the addition of two new Polar icebreakers to our fleet, which will extend the Coast Guard’s on-water Arctic operations all year long.”

Mario Pelletier, Commissioner for the Canadian Coast Guard 

“Five Reasons Why the Nation Should Keep Building the National Security Cutter” –Real Clear Defense

The crews of the Coast Guard Cutters Midgett (WMSL 757) and Kimball (WMSL 756) transit past Koko Head on Oahu, Hawaii, Aug. 16, 2019. The Kimball and Midgett are both homeported in Honolulu and two of the newest Coast Guard cutters to join the fleet. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West/Released)

Real Clear Defense offers rationale for the continued construction of Bertholf class National Security Cutters.

Given the delay in starting the Offshore Patrol Cutter program, there is definitely reason to consider building NSC #12.

“The Fallacy of Presence” –USNI

SkyTruth Fishing Watch. https://www.skytruth.org/mapping-global-fishing/

The US Naval Institute has selected an article by BMC Phillip Null, USCG as third place winner in their General Prize Essay Contest, “The Fallacy of Presence.”

(Always a good idea to consider the Chief’s opinion.)

The essay is currently a “featured article,” so I think it will be accessible to non-members, at least for a short time. The Chief explains the futility of simply being there, but having no authority to do anything about it.

The article particularly looks at the situation in the Gulf of Maine where a dispute between the US and Canada has resulted in the US Coast Guard essentially taking little or no action against Canadian or other foreign fishing vessels violating waters the US claims as part of its EEZ.

To me an immediate course of action seems obvious.

Take the Gulf of Maine dispute to the International Tribunal. Not only will this result in a resolution of the dispute, it will illustrate for the world that use of the International Tribunal is a proper course for intractable conflict resolution and that its decision should be respected.

Until the tribunal reaches a decision, the US and Canada should agree to continue to allow each others vessels to operate in the area

Meanwhile the US and Canada should agree to firmly enforce their laws against non-US and non-Canadian vessels operating in the area.

Enforcement outside EEZs: Ultimately the UN is going to have to manage fishing on the high seas, limiting it to sustainable levels, otherwise it seems illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing is going to destroy an essential resource and result in massive food insecurity. How that is going to happen is clearly a long term diplomatic challenge.

“Coast Guard Grounds Some Search-and-Rescue Helicopters As It Struggles to Find Spare Parts” –Military.Com

US Coast Guard photo, by PAC Dana Warr

Military.Com reports that,

“The Coast Guard’s short-range search-and-rescue helicopters are flying at 70% of their potential scheduled hours due to a parts shortage, a situation that could worsen as hurricane season approaches, the service’s top officer told Congress on Wednesday.

“Six Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopters are currently grounded, with four more expected to be out of circulation by June. That’s roughly 10% of the fleet, Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz told the House Appropriations Committee’s homeland security subcommittee April 28.”

The H-65s entered service with the Coast Guard 36 years ago. The Coast Guard is concurrently conducting both service life extension and electronic upgrades on the entire H-65 fleet. I had heard that a couple of airstations would transition from H-65s to H-60s, and that we would begin flying H-60s from cutters, but I was very surprised to see this,

“Schultz said the service must “take immediate action” to transition its entire rotary wing force over to MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters.”

While moving from H-65s to H-60s is something of an upgrade, a complete transition from H-65s to H-60s will be challenging and operating H-60s from 210s may be impossible.

There lots of Airbus 365 derived helicopters out there. Over a 1000 were sold to over 60 different customers. They are used by militaries and civilians all over the world. In 2015 it was announced that Korean Aerospace Industries would begin building new version with an upgraded gearbox. That program apparently resulted in their Light Civil Helicopter and Light Armed Helicopter.

I find it hard to believe we cannot find a source for replacement parts.

Thanks to Walter for bringing this to my attention.

“U.S. Coast Guard builds ties with partners in Tunisia” –LantArea News Release

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (April 23, 2021) A boarding team from USCGC Charles Moulthrope (WPC 1141) transits to a local fishing vessel during a boarding exercise with the Tunisian navy from the offshore patrol vessel Jugurtha (P 610) in the Mediterranean Sea on April 23, 2021. Charles Moulthrope and USCGC Robert Goldman (WPC 1142) are en route to their new homeport in Bahrain in support of the Navy’s U.S. Fifth Fleet and U.S. Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. The U.S. Coast Guard patrol vessels are conducting operations in the U.S Naval Forces Sixth Fleet area of operations supporting U.S. national interests and security in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Collin Strange/Released)

Below is another LantArea news release describing what our cutters are doing, far from the US coast. More photos here.

Found some information on the vessel they were exercising with. Jugurtha (P 610) is a 72 meter (236′) Offshore Patrol Vessel, one of four built by Dutch firm Damen in their Romanian shipyard. Damen also provided the preliminary designs of the Coast Guard’s 87 foot WPBs and the Webber class WPCs.

According to Defence.pk,

Tunisia’s Damen MSOPV 1400 vessels have a length of 72 m, a 12.7 m beam, and a 3.75 m draft. The vessels have a standard displacement of 1,284 tonnes or up to 1,877 tonnes fully loaded.

Tunisia’s OPVs are built with Damen’s “Axe Bow,” designed to reduce pitching, but more conventional bows are also an option.

Of the four OPVs, apparently only the first two have helicopter decks.

united states coast guard 
News Release U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area

U.S. Coast Guard builds ties with partners in Tunisia  

TUNIS, Tunisia — The Sentinel-class fast response cutters USCGC Charles Moulthrope (WPC 1141) and USCGC Robert Goldman (WPC 1142) departed Tunis after a routine logistics visit and key leader engagements, April 25, 2021.

This port visit marks the cutters’ second stop while conducting operations in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of responsibility en route to their new homeport of Manama, Bahrain.

The Moulthrope and Goldman work in Tunis builds on previous military operations with Tunisian forces such as the USCGC Bear (WMEC 901) deployment conducting military-to-military operations with the Tunisian navy and royal Moroccan navy in 1999, and USCGC Dallas (WHEC 716) work with Tunisian navy counterparts to share best practices for responding to maritime issues and at-sea emergencies in 1995 as well as ongoing international training efforts.

This visit is a continuation of our commitment to our Tunisian partners, further enhancing cooperation between U.S. and Tunisian forces in support of shared security goals. In January 2021, Military Sealift Command Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport USNS Trenton (T EPF 5) and Tunisian navy partners conducted joint maritime operations to enhance maritime security, critical lifesaving capabilities, and Tunisia’s ability to protect its maritime borders.

“The exercises showcased both the Tunisian naval forces and U.S. Coast Guard’s ability to operate as multi-mission partners through a variety of exercises ranging from defense operations to search and rescue and illegal fisheries enforcement — all of which highlighted our services’ similarities in both missions and responsibilities,” said Lt. Cmdr. Samuel Blase, commanding officer, Robert Goldman.

During their stop in Tunis, Moulthrope and Goldman engaged with navy leadership, local dignitaries and conducted military-to-military exercises with the Tunisian navy for interoperability and familiarization.

“It was an honor to help lead the first U.S. Coast Guard visit to Tunisia in over 25 years and strengthen our partnership with the Tunisian naval force. The engagements and maritime exercises highlighted service capabilities, promoted interoperability between both nations, and enhanced stability throughout the Mediterranean Sea,” said Lt. Cmdr. Steven Hulse, commanding officer of Charles Moulthrope.

Charles Moulthrope and Robert Goldman are en route to their new homeport in Bahrain in support of the Navy’s U.S. Fifth Fleet and U.S. Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. While in the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet area of responsibility, the crews will support engagements with partner countries strengthening relationships and demonstrating our continued commitment to global maritime security and stability.

Charles Moulthrope and Robert Goldman are the first two of six Sentinel-class ships headed to U.S. Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. Established in 2002 to support Operation Iraqi Freedom, PATFORSWA played a critical role in maritime security and maritime infrastructure protection operations. It is the U.S. Coast Guard’s largest unit outside of the United States.

The U.S. Coast Guard remains operational during COVID-19, following all COVID-19 safety precautions and regulations.

U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

Why Wasn’t This a Sink-Ex?

Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick, a 154-foot Sentinel–class vessel, towed the derelict tugboat Lumberman, to a position 54 miles west of Cross Sound, Alaska, on May 2, 2021. The 107-ft steel hulled tugboat was scuttled in over 8,400 feet of water. U.S Coast Guard courtesy photo.

Below is a D17 press release (more photos here). I have to wonder, why we did not take this opportunity to do a sink-ex? Would have loved to see what a 57mm would have done to this little ship. Was it because the last time we attempted a derelict destruction, it was all too embarrassing?

united states coast guard   
Photo Release U.S. Coast Guard 17th District Alaska

Chronic nuisance vessel scuttled at sea off Southeast Alaska 

JUNEAU, Alaska –The City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ) Docks and Harbors and Global Diving and Salvage, assisted by Coast Guard Sector Juneau, scuttled the derelict tugboat Lumberman offshore Southeast Alaska Sunday.

The Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick, a 154-foot Sentinel–class vessel, towed the Lumberman, a 107-ft steel hulled tugboat to a position 54 miles west of Cross Sound where it was sunk in over 8,400 feet of water.

Sector Juneau accessed the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund in 2017 to remove petroleum product and again in 2020 to secure the vessel when it became adrift in Gastineau Channel. Prior to the scuttling, CBJ hired Global Diving and Salvage to remove hazardous material and approximately 250 cubic yards of debris, conducted a stability assessment and prepped the Lumberman for sinking. Following environmental consultation with key stakeholders CBJ obtained an EPA General Permit for vessel disposal at sea.

The decision to dispose of the Lumberman at sea, which had been abandoned in the Gastineau channel in 2016, was made after it was determined to be derelict and posed a significant public safety risk. 

“Nuisance vessels are a challenge to address. In this case we were able to coordinate the appropriate resources to safely remove the threat Lumberman posed to navigation, the local environment and the community of Juneau,” said Cmdr. Byron Hayes, Sector Juneau response chief. 

“USCGC Hamilton conducts exercises with Georgian Coast Guard” –LANTAREA News Release

210502-G-G0108-1742 BLACK SEA (May 2, 2021) USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) and Georgian coast guard vessels Ochamchire (P 23) and Dioskuria (P 25) conduct simulated towing exercises in the Black Sea, May 2, 2021. Hamilton is on a routine deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national interests and security in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo)

Below is an Atlantic Area news release. More photos here. You will recognize the Georgian Coast Guard cutters as former USCG 110 foot Island class cutters (Jefferson Island and Staten Island). I am a bit surprised they are not better Armed. The 25mm Mk 38 was presumably removed before transfer. In its place is a 12.7 or 14.5mm machine gun. I don’t see anything else.

Wish they would stop calling this a “routine” deployment. If you haven’t done it for 13 years, its not routine. Think I would have mentioned the two Georgian cutters are former USCG.

Two additional 110s were transferred to Ukraine, maybe we will see Hamilton exercise with them as well.

united states coast guard 
News Release U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area

USCGC Hamilton conducts exercises with Georgian coast guard  

BLACK SEA — The Legend-class national security cutter USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) crew conducted a series of operational exercises with the Georgian coast guard, May 2 to 3, 2021, in the Black Sea.

Hamilton crew conducted search and rescue patterns, simulated survivor rescue training, helicopter hoisting evolutions, approaches for towing, and ship communications with the crews of Georgian coast guard vessels Dioskuria (P 25) and Ochamchire (P 23). These maneuvers and operations enhanced the proficiency in specific mission areas familiar to both coast guards.

“The U.S. Coast Guard, along with the U.S. Navy, work closely with the Georgian coast guard on the maritime component of our robust security and defense partnership,” said Kelly Degnan, U.S. Ambassador to Georgia. “We welcome Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton to train with their counterparts in the Georgian coast guard, engage with community leaders, and above all, reaffirm the United States’ commitment to Georgia’s territorial integrity.”

The U.S. Coast Guard has been a consistent partner with European nations, strengthening and enforcing robust maritime governance. These exercises are designed to strengthen partnerships through interoperable capabilities and combined operations.

We continue our substantial military training cooperation, ship visits, and joint military exercises that aim to help Georgia improve its self-defense capabilities and interoperability with allied and partner forces.

“Hamilton was honored to conduct combined at-sea operations with the Georgian coast guard,” said Capt. Timothy Cronin, commanding officer of USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753). “The U.S. Coast Guard values this partnership as we look to protect our shared interests by ensuring safe and lawful activity in the Black Sea.”

The U.S. Coast Guard has a deep partnership with Georgia and the Georgian coast guard, dating back to its initial establishment in the late 1990s. Through the interagency partnership with the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of State, the U.S. Coast Guard guided and developed the Georgian coast guard into a fully operational and successful maritime force.

A resilient network of alliances and partnerships is the fabric of the free and open order. We build trust and interoperability with our allies and partners through combined exercises, operations, theater security cooperation, global health engagement, foreign internal defense, and capacity-building efforts.

Hamilton is the first U.S. Coast Guard cutter to visit the Black Sea since 2008. The last U.S. Coast Guard cutter to visit the Black Sea, USCGC Dallas (WHEC 716), sailed to the Black Sea twice, in 2008 and 1995.

Hamilton is the fourth national security cutter and is the fifth cutter named for the father of the U.S. Coast Guard – Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury and advocate for the creation of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service.

The U.S. Coast Guard remains operational during COVID-19, following all COVID-19 safety precautions and regulations.

The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting a routine deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations, working alongside allies, building maritime domain awareness, and sharing best practices with partner nation navies and coast guards.

U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

“Coast Guard releases river buoy, inland construction tender request for proposal” –CG-9

Shown above are Coast Guard indicative designs of a river buoy tender, inland construction tender and inland buoy tender.

The Acquisitions Directorate (CG-9) reports,

May 3, 2021 —

The Coast Guard waterways commerce cutter (WCC) program released a request for proposal (RFP) on April 30 for the design and construction of its new river buoy and inland construction tenders. The RFP is available here. The river buoy and inland construction tender acquisition will be a small business set-aside in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 19.5.

The RFP encompasses designing the river buoy tender and inland construction tender (designs which share 95% commonality), constructing an initial river buoy tender and inland construction tender based on those completed designs, and producing additional cutters. The deadline to submit responses to the RFP is July 30, 2021, at 10 a.m. Eastern standard time. Contract award is anticipated in early 2022.

On March 24, the DHS Acquisition Review Board approved the WCC program to proceed from the analyze/select phase to the obtain phase. This achievement was the culmination of several years of design analysis, industry engagement, operator input, scale-model testing and other analyses that provided valuable information on requirements, design and production schedules. The WCC acquisition program will replace the legacy inland tender fleet, which has an average vessel age of over 55 years. The current fleet is approaching obsolescence and many of the legacy cutters do not support mixed-gender crews due to original design constraints. The WCC program has accelerated the acquisition by approximately a year to ensure the Coast Guard continues to meet its vital missions throughout the Marine Transportation System.

The current inland tender fleet plays a critical role in the Coast Guard’s support of the national Marine Transportation System, which facilitates $5.4 trillion in commerce annually and sustains over 30 million jobs. The new WCCs will have greater endurance, speed and deck load capacity than their predecessors. The ships will also feature improved habitability and will accommodate mixed-gender crews.

For more information: Waterways Commerce Cutter program page

“President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to speak at CGA’s 140th Commencement Exercises”

united states coast guard
News Release U.S. Coast Guard Academy

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to speak at CGA’s 140th Commencement Exercises 

NEW LONDON, Conn. – President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is scheduled to deliver the keynote address during graduation ceremonies at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Wednesday, May 19, 2021. This will be the second time President Biden has addressed a graduating class at the Academy, the first was as Vice-President in 2013.

“We are honored to host the Commander-in-Chief as we celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2021, the future leaders of the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Academy Superintendent Rear Adm. Bill Kelly. “It will be a memorable event for our community, as well as a great opportunity to showcase the Academy and the city of New London on a national stage.

”The 140th Commencement Exercises are scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. on Cadet Memorial Field. The event is not open to the public. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the number of guests will be greatly reduced, and masking requirements and social distancing measures will be in place.

Inclement weather plans call for the graduation to be held in Leamy Hall Auditorium, where seating will be limited. The event will be available for viewing at: https://uscga.live/commencement2021

“2 dead, 23 injured when suspected smuggling boat capsizes off coast of Point Loma” –San Diego Union-Tribune

Aerial view of the Port of San Diego with three cruise ships in Port, from Oct. 4, 2012. Port of San Diego photo

This is a story about an alien migrant smuggling attempt, but that they were not interdicted earlier, says something about our Maritime Domain Awareness.

Why did they get all the way to the Cabrillo National Monument at the tip of Point Loma without being interdicted?

San Diego is something of a special case in terms of Maritime Domain Awareness, in that the distance from the entrance to San Diego harbor, with its cruise ships and Major US Navy bases, where there are aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines, to the Mexican territorial sea is less than ten nautical miles.

Reportedly the law enforcement is beefing up its resources to interdict migrants, but let us not forget that terrorists can also make this trip in less than an hour, so we really need constant vigilance and a ready response.