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October 23, 2023

Canadian Coast Guard Orders Hybrid Research Vessel

Rendering of the new Near-Shore Fishery Research Vessel. Credits: Robert Allan Ltd.

Rendering of the new Near-Shore Fishery Research Vessel. Credits: Robert Allan Ltd.

Shipbuilder Chantier Naval Forillon in Gaspé, Quebec has received an order to build a new Near-Shore Fishery Research Vessel (NSFRV) for the Canadian Coast Guard.

Expected to join the Canadian Coast Guard fleet as early as 2027, the new vessel will be the agency's first-ever diesel-electric hybrid vessel with a battery energy storage system, designed to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.

Announced last week by Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the contract was awarded for $55.5 million (excluding taxes) as part of Canada's National Shipbuilding Strategy, a long-term project to renew the country's federal fleet of combat and non-combat vessels while bolstering the nation's maritime and shipbuilding industries.

"As a maritime nation with the longest coastline in the world, Canada has a unique position opportunity to be a global leader in implementing low-carbon solutions and a blue economy for all," Lebouthillier said "Today's announcement is a major milestone in the maritime history of the Gaspé Peninsula. The construction of this vessel will not only create and maintain high-skilled, well-paying jobs, but will directly and indirectly boost the economy of the entire region."

Designed by Robert Allan Ltd., the NSFRV features a hybrid propulsion system with a battery bank and an energy-efficient electrical and deck equipment systems. The vessel will emit significant less greenhouse gas than a non-hybrid configuration and is able to perform some low speed operations on battery for 30-60 minutes per day. In addition, the batteries can support overnight operations to avoid using generators in harbor, and in so doing generate less pollution and ambient noise.

Jean-David Samuel, President and CEO, Chantier Naval Forillon, said, "It is a source of great pride for our team to have been chosen to build the Canadian Coast Guard's very first diesel-electric hybrid vessel. Today's announcement will not only maintain and create important jobs in our region, but also contribute to positioning our company as a leader in the construction of innovative ships in our markets."

The NSFRV is a specialized vessel for fisheries, oceanographic and hydrographic sciences. Outfitted with cutting-edge technologies in fisheries, oceanographic and hydrographic sciences, the new vessel will be equipped with a dry lab, a wet lab, a mud room and an electronics room to undertake critical research to collect the data and information needed to help guide decision-making for sustainable fisheries and healthy ecosystems in the St. Lawrence River and Gulf region. The ship can accommodate a crew of 5 Canadian Coast Guard members and six Fisheries and Oceans scientists, for a total of 11 crew members.

The vessel will also be available for Search and Rescue as well as other Canadian Coast Guard operations on an opportunity basis.

Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, said, "Today's announcement brings us one step closer to building a greener and more innovative fleet. This contract with Chantier Naval Forillon will provide the members of the Canadian Coast Guard with the vessel they need to continue to save lives, keep our waters secure, and protect the environment. This will also help create good jobs and strengthen the economy in Eastern Québec."

Mario Pelletier, Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, said, "Today's announcement is a pivotal moment for the Canadian Coast Guard as we continue to align our fleet renewal plan with the use of innovative and low-carbon systems in our ships. Through the construction of the NSFRV, we are trailblazing the next generation of clean vessels and providing state-of-the-art equipment to our personnel who work tirelessly to deliver critical services on behalf of all Canadians."

Through the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the process of renewing the Coast Guard's small vessel fleet is well underway. To date, 17 small vessels have been delivered which includes; 15 Search and Rescue lifeboats and two Channel Survey and Sounding Vessels. So far, Chantier Naval Forillon from Gaspé, Quebec has built eight Search and Rescue Lifeboats for the Canadian Coast Guard under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, with seven of those that have been delivered across the country.

The February 2024 edition of Marine Technology Reporter is focused on Oceanographic topics and technologies.
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