Historic Canadian research vessel heads for dismantling

(DARTMOUTH, Nova Scotia) — Following 59 years of service supporting ocean science work in Canada and around the world, the research vessel CCGS Hudson is taking its final voyage and is set for deconstruction and environmentally responsible disposal.

On Nov. 28, after an open competitive process, Public Services and Procurement Canada, on behalf of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), awarded the contract for the vessel’s deconstruction to Antigonish-based marine contracting company R.J. MacIsaac Construction Ltd. (RJMI). The cost for this disposal contract is $1.6 million.

Michel Tremblay/Shipspotting.com photo

In the coming weeks, the Canadian Coast Guard will sign over the care and custody of the decommissioned vessel to RJMI. The vessel will then be towed from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth to a temporary storage site in Halifax Harbor for a few months.

In spring 2023, RJMI will tow the vessel to its Sheet Harbor facility where the hazardous-material remediation and disposal process will be performed. By fall 2023, the vessel will be removed from water and the hull and superstructure will be disassembled. The overall project is expected to be completed by the end of fall 2023.

RJMI will ensure that any steel, stainless steel, aluminum or other recyclable materials on the vessel are recycled, while non-recyclable materials will be disposed of in compliance with federal, provincial and municipal regulations. The contractor also will salvage and return CCGS Hudson’s hull transducers and propellers to the CCG.

“Today is a bittersweet day as the Canadian Coast Guard responsibly disposes of the CCGS Hudson, a trailblazing vessel that has served Canadians and Canadian scientists for nearly 60 years,” said Joyce Murray, minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. “The Canadian Coast Guard taking this step serves as a reminder to all vessel owners across the country to have a plan to dispose of their ships in an environmentally responsible way to protect our lands and oceans.”

“As we mark the final chapter of CCGS Hudson’s illustrious history, I’m reminded of all of the Canadian Coast Guard personnel that sailed on the ship and left their mark on Canadian ocean science,” said Mario Pelletier, commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard. “I am particularly proud that some of the CCGS Hudson’s history will be preserved as a reminder to celebrate the past as we navigate the future in oceanographic science missions.”

Quick facts

• Prior to the handover of the ship to R.J. MacIsaac Construction, Canadian Coast Guard personnel removed a number of items including the ship’s bell, the wheel, chronometer, anchors and photographs from CCGS Hudson, which are currently being safely stored. The historic items will be archived or donated to maritime museums, installed on the future offshore oceanographic science vessel currently under construction at Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards, installed on other CCG vessels where appropriate, or placed as historical decorative pieces at departmental sites.

• CCGS Hudson was a key platform for Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s oceanographic science program. The new offshore oceanographic science vessel, as yet unnamed and being built as part of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), isn’t expected to be delivered until 2025. The Canadian Coast Guard continues to work closely with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to mitigate the impacts on science programming.

• The offshore oceanographic science vessel, the second class of Canadian Coast Guard vessels being built by Seaspan, is a critical step in the renewal of the Coast Guard fleet. It will support Canada’s next 30-plus years of scientific research that will help inform decisions about protecting fisheries, oceans and coastal areas.

– Canadian Coast Guard

By Rich Miller