Seaspan Shipyards (Seaspan) has cut steel and started full-rate construction of the Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel (OOSV). This important milestone kicks off construction of the third class of ships Seaspan is building under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS).
The vessel will deliver much-needed fleet capability for the Canadian Coast Guard and an oceanographic science platform for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
For the next three years, more than 700 Seaspan employees and hundreds more in the company’s cross-Canada supply chain will work on the 88-metre-long ship. The OOSV is being built at Seaspan’s multi-program Vancouver Shipyard concurrently with the first Joint Support Ship for the Royal Canadian Navy.
The OOSV will support a wide range of oceanographic, fishery, geological and hydrographic survey missions. These missions will advance scientific knowledge about the oceans, the seabed and the impacts of climate change and help lead to healthier, more sustainable ocean ecosystems, a key priority of the Government of Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy.
This floating laboratory will be outfitted with specialized equipment that includes several advanced wet and dry labs, an ocean sampling room, a scientific seawater system for studying oxygen levels, temperature and salinity, and a state-of-the-art drop keel and sensor suite for collecting and analyzing data on everything from water current velocities to underwater acoustics.
The ship, which will accommodate up to 34 crew and 26 scientists, will also perform search and rescue operations and environmental response as needed.
The new OOSV will replace the venerable CCGS Hudson, which was Canada’s first ocean science vessel when it entered service in 1964 and is the longest serving ship in the Canadian Coast Guard fleet. CCGS Hudson is set to retire in 2024 after 60 years of significant scientific missions, invaluable contributions to ocean science, and several historic expeditions including in the Arctic and as the first science vessel to circumnavigate both North and South America.
In keeping with current COVID-19-related restrictions on events and public gatherings, the OOSV steel cutting at Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyard was attended last week by a small team of employees and on-site representatives of the Canadian Coast Guard.