As part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the Government of Canada has announced that Seaspan Shipyards will design and build a Polar Icebreaker, the flagship of the Canadian Coast Guard’s icebreaking fleet.
The new ship construction program is expected to create approximately 1,400 jobs at Seaspan’s Vancouver shipyard and 1,400 additional jobs in the marine industry across the country.
With Canada’s current largest icebreaker, CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, due to retire at the end of the decade after 60 years of service, there was an urgent need to begin work on the multi-year replacement program.
The new icebreaker will be the largest ship in the Coast Guard fleet and will play a critical role in enabling the Canadian Coast Guard to patrol and protect 243,000 km of coastline – the longest national coastline in the world.
Nearly 70% of that coastline is in the Arctic, a region of increasing interest from other countries and a growing national priority for Canada. The multi-mission ship will also provide vital resupply to Arctic communities, support Arctic science, help ensure the free flow of trade and safe commercial shipping, and conduct search and rescue and environmental response.
Seaspan is set to work with Canada’s marine industry leaders, including Genoa Design International in Newfoundland and Labrador and Heddle Shipyards in Ontario, along with hundreds of small and medium Canadian companies on this project.
A recent study has indicated that for every dollar spent on the NSS at Seaspan, a dollar is added to Canada’s GDP.
“This is an important day for Seaspan employees and suppliers, and for shipbuilding in Canada and BC. With the Polar program, we can keep the NSS working as the important economic engine and strategic national asset it was designed to be,” said Mark Lamarre, Chief Executive Officer, Seaspan Shipyards.