One major Canadian shipbuilder has a contract to convert a containership into a support vessel for the Royal Canadian Navy and another major Canadian builder has offered plans to the federal government for its own ship conversion.
Chantier Davie Canada announced in May that it had cut the first steel for a Resolve-class auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) vessel at its Davie Shipbuilding facility in Levis, Quebec.
The primary role of the ship will be to conduct underway replenishment for Canadian naval task groups and other allied warships, but a significant number of design elements have been incorporated into the vessel’s layout to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions.
HADR capabilities will include an area for triage and care of evacuees and survivors, a large medical facility for up to 60 patients in two separate wards, and emergency accommodation for up to 350 people.
The vessel will have ship-to-shore airlift capability via two CH-148 Cyclone helicopters, up to eight small boats for quick launch and recovery, and the ability to deliver more than 400 tons of fresh water and up to 7,000 tons of fuel oil per day. It also will be capable of transporting, loading and unloading light vehicles, sea containers and general cargo that are essential for HADR missions.
Irving Shipbuilding, a competitor of Davie’s in Canada, has prepared its own proposal for a ship conversion. In a presentation to a Canadian defense policy review roundtable on July 6, company President Kevin McCoy delivered Irving’s plan for a new HADR ship for Canada.
McCoy said that a partnership among Irving Shipbuilding, Fleetway Inc. and an experienced international shipping company has made it possible for Canada to obtain a vessel tailored to HADR response. McCoy said that the low-cost, low-risk program would use a commercial roll-on/roll-off ship converted to deliver humanitarian aid and relief wherever required.
Irving’s plan for the ship includes containerized equipment such as a modular field hospital, generators and water purification systems, along with onboard cranes, a large stern ramp, a large flight deck and facilities capable of handling the largest military helicopters. The vast interior of the ship would allow loading and unloading to be tailored to the task at hand. The vessel could support the Royal Canadian Navy with fuel and stores to augment the joint support ships (JSS), evacuate Canadians from troubled areas, act as a refugee processing facility, support United Nations peacekeeping missions, resupply Canada’s north and assist with the surveillance of Canada’s ocean approaches.
Irving said the maritime support ship (MSS) could be ready in 12 to 14 months, not including the necessary design approvals and subsequent tests and trials. It would be offered to the Canadian government for a five-year lease at a cost of about $300 million CAD ($228 million USD), which would include converting, operating and crewing the vessel, and all maintenance.
The Canadian government has not committed to purchasing a second HADR ship.
“At this point in time, Canada does not have any requirement for acquiring or chartering humanitarian assistance and disaster relief ships,” said Nicolas Boucher with Public Services and Procurement Canada. “Any potential requirements will be addressed through industry engagement and will follow the government’s regulations and practices, including fair, open and transparent procurement processes.”