The following is text of a news release from Seaspan Shipyards:
(NORTH VANCOUVER, British Columbia) — On Thursday, Seaspan Shipyards and its more than 2,800 employees hosted Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of environment and climate change and member of Parliament for North Vancouver, and Vice Adm. Art McDonald, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, for a ceremonial keel laying event for the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) future joint support ship (JSS) Protecteur.
The keel-laying event is a significant milestone in a ship’s construction during which a newly minted coin is placed near the keel where it will remain for the duration of the ship’s life. The coin is said to bring good luck for the builders and all those who sail in the vessel.
The future Protecteur, the first of two joint support ships to be built by Seaspan as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), will be able to conduct a full range of military operations in high-threat environments. The fourth vessel to be designed and built by Seaspan under the NSS and the largest naval ship by length — 570 feet — ever built in Canada, the future Protecteur is scheduled for delivery in 2023.
In 2019, Seaspan delivered Sir John Franklin and Capt. Jacques Cartier, offshore fisheries science vessels (OFSVs) to the Canadian Coast Guard. These were the first two large vessels built and delivered under the NSS. Seaspan will deliver a third OFSV to the Coast Guard – the future John Cabot – in summer 2020.
In addition to building and delivering ships, Seaspan is also delivering significant socio-economic benefits as a result of the NSS. Seaspan has helped to rebuild a marine industrial sector, creating thousands of jobs, leveraging a supply chain of more than 600 suppliers and generating more than $1 billion in economic activity across Canada.
“Today’s keel-laying ceremony represents another milestone in our commitment to provide modern, safe and effective vessels to members of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Coast Guard. The hard work of the dedicated individuals at Seaspan ensures that the National Shipbuilding Strategy delivers on its mandate to rejuvenate Canada’s shipbuilding industry. We are proud to celebrate the symbolic birth of Canada’s first Joint Support Ship," said Anita Anand, minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada.
"The construction of this new ship represents an important investment in the capabilities of our Navy, while also providing significant economic opportunities for the local economy, especially for Canadians living here in North Vancouver. Today marks an important milestone in our shipbuilding journey, and I look forward to seeing its ongoing progress in the future," Wilkinson said.
“We are incredibly proud to reach this important milestone on the first of two joint support ships that will be built by Seaspan. At Seaspan, we know that building ships requires you to build more than ships. You need to build a workforce, an industry, a supply chain, and strong partnerships. The JSS will be the largest naval ship ever built in Canada – a tremendous accomplishment for all the skilled and committed men and women involved in her design and construction," said Mark Lamarre, chief executive officer, Seaspan Shipyards.
Protecteur and Preserver will replace the former Protecteur-class auxiliary oiler replenishment vessels. As a warship, it will include sophisticated damage control and self-defense systems that will allow it to conduct a full range of military operations in high-threat environments. In addition to providing critical at-sea replenishment, these multi-purpose warships will also be capable of seamlessly integrating with any Canadian or allied naval task group, and will significantly extend the range and endurance of these groups through the provision of fuel, ammunition, aviation support, food, spare parts, exercise and gym facilities, and medical and dental care.
Protecteur will have a cruising speed of 15 knots, a top speed of 20 knots and a range of 10,800 nautical miles.