ARCHIVED - 3. Our Vessels and Helicopters

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To fulfil its role, the CCG needs an adaptable fleet that can deliver a variety of services in a safe and secure, effective and efficiently manner. In 2006-2007, the Fleet operated 110 vessels, four air cushion vehicles (ACVs) and 22 helicopters (See Table 2). Many of these assets are equipped to support the provision of two or more simultaneous tasks (multitasked), allowing them to efficiently support multiple clients during a single mission. Other assets have more specialized capabilities required to satisfy particular client or program requirements, such as DFO Science marine research requirements.

Table 2: Number of Vessels and Helicopters by type in 2006-2007
Vessel and Helicopter TypesNumber

Polar Icebreakers

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 2
SAR Lifeboats 38
Hydrographic Survey Vessels 5
Channel Survey and Sounding Vessels 2
Near-Shore Fishery Research Vessels 6
Speciality Vessels 22
Vessel Total 114
Helicopter Total 22

Today’s fleet is significantly smaller than that of 12 years ago, when 198 vessels were operating. In making the 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 the CCG has a strong, modern, flexible fleet, capable of delivering cost-effective and reliable service to Canadians well into the future. In order to remain current, the Plan is regularly reviewed and adjusted to changing priorities and projected demands.

Fleet Renewal Plan goals are to procure new vessels, to improve maintenance of existing vessels through life-cycle management, and to manage the fleet more effectively through better planning and management processes.  Significant progress was made during 2006-2007. Between February 2005 and March 2007, funding of $669 million was provided to the Fleet for the procurement of a total of 16 new vessels:  one offshore oceanographic science vessel, three offshore fishery science vessels, and 12 midshore patrol vessels.

Overall, four of the new vessels are additions to the fleet and 12 will replace existing vessels nearing the end of their life expectancies. Fleet Renewal Plan is a multi-year undertaking, with the first vessels approved in Phases I and II scheduled for delivery in 2010 and the last for 2014. The CCG also plans to build a high-speed air cushion vehicle that will be used primarily for search and rescue, maintenance to navigational aids, and icebreaking for flood control and St. Lawrence Seaway operations in the Quebec Region.

B212-1, a twin engines lift helicopter
B212, a twin engines helicopter

In the meantime, the existing fleet must be kept as operationally ready as possible. Additional annual funding has been allocated for vessel refits for existing vessels; however, this additional funding is being eroded over time due to higher than anticipated repair costs, especially since more than half of the large vessel fleet (vessels greater than 33m in length) are more than 25 years old. Maximizing the use of capital funds for repairs 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 aging fleet as a bridge to the arrival of the newly constructed vessels (see Table 3).

Table 3: Age of CCG Vessels in 2006-2007
VesselsCurrent NumberVessels Over 25 Years OldVessels
15 to 25 Years Old
Vessels Under 15 Years Old
Large Ships (over 88m)
Design Life – 30 years
7 5 2 0
Medium Ships (48 to 87m)
Design Life – 30 years
28 13 15 0
Smaller Ships (33 to 47m)
Design Life – 15 to 20 years
5 4 1 0
TOTAL Large Fleet 40 22 18 0
Small Vessels and ACVs (up to 33m)
Design Life – 15 to 20 years
36 12 16 8
SAR Lifeboats
Design Life – 15 years
38 0 2 36
TOTAL Small Fleet 74 12 18 44
TOTAL FLEET 114 34 36 44

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