Home LATEST NEWS Ottawa sends science vessel into retirement; his replacement still delayed

Ottawa sends science vessel into retirement; his replacement still delayed


The Canadian Coast Guard announced on Wednesday that time has finally caught up with the 59-year-old CCGS Hudson and the ocean research science vessel is decommissioned, although a replacement won’t be ready until at least 2025.

The tough decision came after one of the ship’s engines broke last November and officials determined it was too expensive to fix it and upgrade other outdated parts of the vessel to meet new regulations.

The breakdown was the latest in a series of problems for the Coast Guard’s oldest ship in service, which had undergone millions of dollars in repairs and upgrades in recent years in a desperate attempt to keep it afloat.

The investments were made necessary after several delays in the delivery of a replacement offshore oceanographic science vessel from Seaspan Shipyards of Vancouver, which was originally scheduled to complete construction of the new vessel in 2017.

In addition to the delays, the new ship was subject to numerous cost overruns. The Canadian Press reported this summer that the original budget of $108 million had ballooned to nearly $1 billion.

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Climate changes

The Canadian Coast Guard is now scrambling to find alternatives to conduct what it has previously described as “vital” research on Canada’s oceans, which has become even more important due to concerns about climate change.

The Canadian Coast Guard works closely with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to assess short- and long-term impacts on programming and develop a plan to mitigate these impacts, the agency said in writing.

Discussions focus on which parts of the science program can be supplemented by other Canadian Coast Guard vessels, by charter vessels or by the use of other technologies. »

A quote from The Canadian Coast Guard

University of Calgary shipbuilding expert Timothy Choi says the loss of the Hudson before its replacement is ready will leave a void, although it’s too early to say how extensive the damage will be. .

It is certain that our offshore research capability outside of the Arctic will be hampered, although it depends on what alternative solutions they can find in the meantime., he analyzed.

Not a unique case

The Hudson is just the latest federal ship to be retired before a replacement is ready due to delays in much of the government’s federal shipbuilding strategy.

The Royal Canadian Navy has been operating without any destroyers since 2017, with the first replacement not expected until at least 2032. These new ships will also replace the navy’s 12 Halifax-class frigates.

The navy has also been forced to hire a converted civilian vessel in recent years as a support vessel since withdrawing its own ships in 2014. Seaspan is currently working on two permanent replacements, which have faced their own delays.

Seaspan had recently promised to deliver the first new support vessel in 2023 and the second in 2025 after completing the Hudson replacement. However, this already tenuous timeline now appears uncertain.

Seaspan does a tricky dancesaid Jeff Collins, a military procurement expert at the University of Prince Edward Island.

Any slippage on their part further delays replacement and risks driving up costs, especially in this time of inflation. Timing is king with federal shipbuilding strategy, and especially for Seaspan, he added.

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