Canadian Coast Guard weighs interim options for icebreaking, towing

The following is the text of a news release from the Government of Canada:

(OTTAWA) — The federal government is seeking input from the marine industry on options for filling potential interim needs in the Canadian Coast Guard’s delivery of icebreaking services pending the arrival of new vessels being built under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS).

A request for information (RFI) was issued today by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) on behalf of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG).

In addition to input on icebreaking services, the RFI also seeks input on bringing the Coast Guard’s capacity to tow oceangoing vessels to world-class standing as part of efforts to strengthen its marine pollution response capability.

Industry responses to the RFI will inform CCG decisions on how best to fill the potential capability gaps and ensure continuity of service.

“The Canadian Coast Guard provides critical icebreaking and emergency response services for all Canadians," said Dominic LeBlanc, minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. "We are exploring options to fill potential capacity gaps in the fleet to ensure that the Coast Guard continues to provide these critical vital services for people who live and work on our waterways.‎ We are also improving marine safety and tow capability which are key elements of the Government of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan.”

“Our government is committed to equipping the men and women of the Canadian Coast Guard with the ships they need to serve Canadians," said Judy Foote, minister of public services and procurement. "The National Shipbuilding Strategy is a long-term approach to shipbuilding that will strengthen our economy by bringing middle-class jobs and prosperity to communities across the country. Pending the arrival of new vessels being built under the strategy, we recognize the Canadian Coast Guard may require interim solutions. We will examine these options through fair, open and transparent processes.

“Engaging in dialogue with industry will help determine the best way to gain economic benefits from procurement," said Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development. "Through this request for information we will get valuable advice on how to optimize procurement practices to drive job creation and foster a more prosperous middle class."

Icebreakers are crucial to Coast Guard services, vital to the safety of mariners, the protection of coastal waters, resupply of northern communities and the orderly flow of commerce through Canadian waters that contributes more than $200 billion to the Canadian economy. The ability to tow oceangoing vessels in distress to safety is critical to preventing marine pollution events. 

For more information, contact the Office of the Minister, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, at (613) 992-3474.

By Professional Mariner Staff