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Seaspan Shipyards Hosts Ceremonial Keel Laying for Second Joint Support Ship

Keel laying ceremony

Seaspan Shipyards hosted a ceremonial keel laying event for the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) future HMCS Preserver on Friday, October 7th.

The keel laying is a significant milestone in a ship’s construction, during which a 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 to the builders and all those who sail on the vessel. For this ship’s keel laying, a commemorative coin from the Royal Canadian Mint was selected, designed by Esquimalt Nation artist Darlene Gait. The coins were placed in the vessel by Tyler Robertson, a third-generation pipefitter and 2023 Seaspan apprenticeship graduate supported by the Squamish Nation Training and Trades Centre, and Ordinary Cadet Curtis MacBain, a Sea Cadet from 354 RCSCC Invincible; their joint participation in this milestone event represents the next generation and future of both Seaspan Shipyards and the Royal Canadian Navy.

“Seaspan Shipyards has taken another critical step towards providing the Royal Canadian Navy with the ships they need to go into harm’s way and ensure Canada’s security and sovereignty in an increasingly unstable geopolitical environment,” said John McCarthy, CEO, Seaspan Shipyards. “Through investments in technology, process improvements, and skills upgrading, and by rigorously applying lessons learned from earlier ships we have built, Seaspan is on course to deliver ships faster and for lower cost to Canada.”

The future HMCS Preserver is the second of two Joint Support Ships being built by Seaspan as part of the NSS. Through incorporating lessons learned on the design and construction of JSS1, the second Joint Support Ship is tracking ahead of schedule and efficiencies are seen throughout the build process – from advancements in design and supply chain streamlining, to pre-assembly outfitting in electrical cable installation.

The HMCS Preserver joins HMCS Protecteur as the longest naval ships built in Canada. HMCS Preserver is scheduled for delivery in 2027. “Today’s keel laying ceremony marks the significant progress being made for the Royal Canadian Navy’s Protecteur-class,” said Rear-Admiral Steve Waddell, Deputy Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy. “Through Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy we continue to grow the naval fleet and bolster its capabilities. Bravo Zulu to those who have contributed to all of the work on this tremendous project.”

In addition to designing, building and delivering state-of-the-art ships, Seaspan is also delivering significant socio-economic benefits to Canada 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 700 Canadian suppliers from coast-to-coast, and generating more than $5.7 billion in GDP contributions to Canada since 2011.

HMCS Preserver is the fifth ship to be designed and built by Seaspan under the NSS. In 2020, Seaspan completed delivery of CCGS John Cabot, the third and final Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel built for the Canadian Coast Guard and marked the first full class of vessel to be delivered under the NSS. Construction is also underway on the Canadian Coast Guard’s Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel, and progress is being made to prepare for the start of construction on Canada’s new heavy Polar Icebreaker, the first to be constructed in Canada in 60 years.

“Today we mark an important milestone in the construction of our new Joint Support Ships. These modern and effective new support ships will be an invaluable resource over the next 30 years and will create jobs in the local shipbuilding industry for decades to come. This critical investment ensures that the Royal Canadian Navy and its sailors have the modern equipment they need to continue to serve Canada.” The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence

“Today marks an important milestone in the work Seaspan has been doing under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. This facility plays a vital role in Canada’s shipbuilding industry, in supporting the Royal Canadian Navy and Coast Guard and is an integral part of both North Vancouver’s maritime heritage and our present local economy. The construction of two Joint Support Ships will create good jobs and help increase the endurance and capability of the Royal Canadian Navy.” The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources

“With today’s keel laying for the second Joint Support Ship, we celebrate progress on this important project that will enhance the Royal Canadian Navy’s operational readiness in Canadian waters and abroad. Through the National Shipbuilding Strategy, our government remains committed to providing members of the Royal Canadian Navy with the equipment they need, while maximizing economic benefits for Canada.” The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada

“Today’s keel-laying ceremony celebrates another key milestone in our government’s commitment to providing the Royal Canadian Navy with modern ships to do their important work. Thanks to this investment, we will support high-value jobs across Canada’s marine industry and the broader marine supply chain across Canada, while delivering economic benefits to Canadians.” The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation Science and Industry

“Today’s keel-laying ceremony is a significant milestone in a ship’s development, and marks the beginning of construction of the future HMCS Preserver. This is yet another step forward on the path to building our Navy. It’s truly exciting to see the incredible progress being made, and the exceptional teamwork and dedication of everyone involved in the construction and ultimate delivery to our fleet.” Rear Admiral Steve Waddell, Deputy Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy

“Today, Seaspan Shipyards has taken another critical step towards providing the Royal Canadian Navy with the ships they need to go into harm’s way and ensure Canada’s security and sovereignty in an increasingly unstable geopolitical environment. Through investments in technology, process improvements, and skills upgrading, and by rigorously applying lessons learned from earlier ships we have built, Seaspan is on course to deliver ships faster and for lower cost to Canada.” John McCarthy, CEO, Seaspan Shipyards

 

ADDITIONAL INFO

• After the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, the JSS is the second class of Royal Canadian Navy ships being constructed by Canadian shipyards, as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

• These ships are being built in modular blocks, and don’t have a traditional keel that runs the length of the ship. As a result, the coins were placed in an area near the centre section of the ship.

• The silver $10 RCN coin showcases an Indigenous design featuring a salmon to represent the Coast Salish people on whose lands the ship is being built. The design for the lucky shipyard coin features the badge of the future HMCS Preserver on one side, and the crests/logos of the key members of the Government of Canada and Seaspan Shipyards JSS project team on the back.

• With a length of 173.7 metres, HMCS Preserver will join HMCS Protecteur as the longest naval ships ever to be built in Canada.

• HMCS Protecteur and HMCS Preserver will replace the former Protecteur-class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessels. 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.

• Seaspan is one of the most modern shipyards in North America, following its privately funded $185M shipyard modernization, development of a skilled workforce of 3,900 and state-of-the-art, purpose-built infrastructure to deliver the entire non-combat fleet.

• In October 2021, Seaspan celebrated its 10th year as a strategic partner in the NSS: the milestone marked the rebirth of a sustainable, thriving shipbuilding industry of strategic importance to Canada that is delivering ships, economic growth and jobs.

• Seaspan has invested more than $24 million to support education, learning, research, and skills development in the marine industry, with a special focus on reducing barriers for underrepresented groups, bringing a broad range of new talent into the industry and the trades, including more women and Indigenous people, and creating opportunities for youth through internships and apprenticeships.

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