At an event in St. John’s, Genoa Design International of Newfoundland and Labrador and Seaspan Shipyards of British Columbia, signed a contract related to the construction of Canada’s new Polar Icebreaker. The deal will see Genoa provide 3D modeling and design technology services for the program, resulting in up to 100 employees working on the project for the next several years.

Genoa Design has played a critical role on several other vessels already built or underway at Seaspan Shipyards under Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). Genoa’s expertise in digital ship models along with their experience as a global leader in cold-ocean technology and ice-prone environment projects makes for an ideal coast-to-coast partnership for the Icebreaker.

As the future flagship of the Canadian Coast Guard’s icebreaking fleet, the Polar Icebreaker will weigh in at close to 28,000 tonnes, will be 158 metres long and be able to accommodate up to 100 personnel. Innovations in design and construction will ensure the yet to be named vessel will have the capability to operate further north and for longer periods than any current icebreaker in the country’s fleet. Production of the ship is expected to begin in late 2024.

The Polar Icebreaker will be an incredibly complex ship, designed to operate in the Arctic’s ice-covered waters and will play a critical role in enabling the Canadian Coast Guard to transit and protect more than 162,000 km of Arctic coastline. The capabilities will help sustain a year-round presence in Canada’s North in support of Indigenous Peoples and other northern communities, Arctic sovereignty, high-Arctic science (including climate change research), and the ability to respond to major maritime emergencies including search and rescue.

The Polar Icebreaker is part of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy. Announced in 2010, the initiative’s purpose is to renew Canada’s federal fleet of combat and non-combat vessels while providing significant economic benefits to Canadians and rebuilding our country’s shipbuilding industry.

Working together on the Polar Icebreaker continues the strong relationship between Genoa and Seaspan. Since the launch of the NSS, the companies have worked together on two Joint Support Ships for the Royal Canadian Navy, the CCGS John Cabot (an Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel) and an Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel, both for the Canadian Coast Guard.

Quick Facts About the Polar Icebreaker

• With a displacement of 27,876 tonnes, the Polar Icebreaker will be 158 metres long and 28 metres wide, and able to accommodate up to 100 personnel. It will be able to operate farther north, in more difficult ice conditions and for longer periods than any icebreaker in Canada to date.

• The primary missions of the Polar Icebreaker include search and rescue, Arctic science, environmental response, Northern resupply, and protecting Canada’s sovereignty.

• Highlights of key design features, include:

o   IACS Polar Class 2 (PC2) Heavy Icebreaker

o   More than 40MW of installed power

o   Ice-classed azimuthing propulsion system

o   Complex, multi-role mission capability

o   Scientific Laboratories

o   Moon Pool (to allow for safe deployment of equipment from within the ship)

o   Helicopter flight deck and hangar

o   Vehicle Garage and future Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) capability


“This is a significant day for Genoa of course, but also for Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada as a whole. Genoa’s contribution to the Polar Icebreaker and the continued faith in the company’s capabilities that Seaspan has shown demonstrate the considerable benefits of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. It also shows that companies in this province can successfully collaborate widely regardless of geography or time zone. This new project will provide exciting work to our highly skilled employees for years to come and the knowledge gained will serve Genoa well as we look to future opportunities.”

Gina Pecore, CEO, Genoa Design International

“Through the National Shipbuilding Strategy, Seaspan is helping to transform Canada’s shipbuilding and marine industries through innovation, partnerships and developing world-class talent. Our relationship with Genoa goes back many years and we are excited to have them continue to partner with us as we design and build the first heavy Polar Icebreaker in Canada in more than 60 years. Over the next 25 years, Seaspan plans to deliver 19 large, complex vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy and with the help of a sustainable, strategic industry stretching from coast to coast.”

Leo Martin, Senior Vice President, Programs, Seaspan Shipyards

“The Canadian Coast Guard eagerly awaits the design and construction of the polar icebreakers, which will extend our on-water operations and ensure the continuous delivery of critical services in the high Arctic. This includes search and rescue, environmental and humanitarian response, as well as playing a key role in supporting ocean science. Congratulations to Seaspan Shipyards and Genoa Design International on striking this new partnership.”

Mario Pelletier, Commissioner, Canadian Coast Guard