OUR VESSELS AND HELICOPTERS

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CCG needs an adaptable fleet that can deliver a variety of services in a safe and secure, effective and efficient manner. In 2007-2008, the Fleet operated 114 vessels and 22 helicopters (see Table 3). Many of these assets are equipped to support the provision of two or more simultaneous operations (multitasked), allowing them to efficiently support multiple clients during a single mission. Other assets have many specialized capabilities necessary to satisfy particular client or program requirements, such as the marine research requirements of DFO's Science Program.

Table 3: Number of Operational Vessels and Helicopters by Class (2007-2008)
Vessel and Helicopter TypesNumber
Polar Icebreakers 0
Heavy Icebreakers 2
Medium Icebreakers 4
High Endurance Multitasked Vessels / Light Icebreakers 7
Medium Endurance Multitasked Vessels 5
Offshore Patrol Vessels 4
Midshore Patrol Vessels 7
Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessels 2
Offshore Fishery Science Vessels 4
Air Cushion Vehicles 4
Special Navaids Vessels 3
SAR Lifeboats 39
Hydrographic Survey Vessels 5
Channel Survey and Sounding Vessels 2
Near-Shore Fishery Research Vessels 6
Speciality Vessels 20
Vessel Total 114
Helicopter Total 22

Today's fleet is significantly smaller than that of 13 years ago, when 198 vessels were operating. In making this transition to a smaller, but more capable, multi-taskable and mission-ready fleet, CCG developed a 25-year Fleet Renewal Plan, which guides investment decisions with an aim to ensure that CCG is capable of delivering cost-effective and reliable service to Canadians well into the future.

Significant Fleet Renewal progress was made during 2007-2008. Federal budget 2008 announced $720 million for the procurement of a new Polar icebreaker to replace the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, which is scheduled for decommissioning in 2017. This brings the total new investment in Fleet recapitalization to $1.4 billion since February 2006. In addition to the icebreaker, this funding will be used to acquire:

  • Eight mid-shore patrol vessels that will be multitasked, and used primarily for fisheries conservation and protection duties in the Maritimes, Quebec and Pacific regions.
  • Four mid-shore patrol vessels that will be used for maritime security duties on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway System.
  • Three state-of-the-art offshore fishery science vessels based in the Pacific, Maritimes and Newfoundland and Labrador regions.
  • One offshore oceanographic science vessel based in Maritimes Region.

Moving toward a strong, modern, flexible fleet…

  • The Fleet Renewal Plan is a multi-year plan for the procurement of new vessels to gradually replace Coast Guard's ageing fleet. Fleet Renewal also looks towards the continuous improvement of maintenance of the existing fleet.
  • The Fleet Long-Term Capital Plan is a fiveyear plan for the investment in CCG vessels, hovercraft, helicopters, and other Fleetmanaged capital assets. It is updated regularly and is composed of ongoing and planned projects which are prioritized based on need and the benefits of projects to CCG and the Department. The Long Term Capital Plan is becoming more aligned to the Fleet Renewal Plan. In the future, it is expected that the Long Term Capital Plan will have to become flexible in response to constantly changing needs and the relative scarcity of resources.

In addition, Fleet is funding internally the following projects through its Long-Term Capital Plan:

  • Constructing a replacement for the CCGS Shark, a vessel which operates on the Great Lakes and is essential to fisheries research, ecosystem monitoring and other core science program activities. It will be delivered in early 2009.
  • Replacing the Maritimes-based CCGS J.L. Hart using a design-for-build approach.
  • Replacing an existing high-speed air cushion vehicle in the Quebec Region, which is used primarily for SAR, maintenance of navigational aids and icebreaking for flood control and Seaway operations, delivery is expected in early 2009.

Equally important are efforts to keep the existing fleet as operationally ready as possible. Increased funding has been allocated for vessel refits, however, higher than anticipated repair costs, especially on the large vessel fleet, over half of which is more than 25 years old, is eroding the buying power of this funding. Maximizing the use of capital funds for repair of these vessels will be a significant challenge in the coming years and success in this area is critical to optimizing the availability and reliability of the ageing fleet as a bridge to the arrival of the newly constructed vessels (see Table 4).

CCG Helicopter MBB - 105
CCG Helicopter MBB - 105
Photo: National Photo Library

Table 4: Age of CCG Vessels in 2007-2008
VesselsCurrent NumberVessels Over 25 Years OldVessels 15 to 24 Years OldVessels Under 14 Years Old
LARGE VESSEL FLEET
Large Ships (over 88m)
Design Life - 30 years
7 5 2 0
Medium Ships (48 to 87m)
Design Life - 30 years
27 12 15 0
Smaller Ships (33 to 47m)
Design Life - 15 to 20 years
6 5 1 0
TOTAL Large Fleet 40 22 18 0
SMALL VESSEL FLEET
Small Vessels and ACVs (up to 33m)
Design Life - 15 to 20 years
36 15 14 7
SAR Lifeboats
Design Life - 15 years
38 0 2 36
TOTAL Small Fleet 74 15 16 43
TOTAL FLEET 114 38 33 43

CCG Bell 212 helicopter
CCG Bell 212 helicopter

CCGS Terry Fox, Heavy Icebreaker
CCGS Terry Fox, Heavy Icebreaker
Photo: Above and Beyond Magazine

Redeployment of the CCGS Terry Fox and the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent

A decision was made to deploy the Fleet's two heavy icebreakers, the CCGS Terry Fox and the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent from the Maritimes Region to the Newfoundland and Labrador Region. This decision was made to avoid the significant additional infrastructure costs associated with keeping the vessels in the Maritimes, as there is no operational need to base them there and sufficient infrastructure exists in Newfoundland. The vessels will also be closer to the Arctic and Gulf of St-Lawrence and Newfoundland East Coast work sites. The deployment is being accomplished without employees currently assigned to the vessels losing their jobs or being forced to move. The Fox was deployed April 1, 2008 and the St-Laurent will be deployed April 1, 2009.