Master Mariners of Canada backs three icebreaker purchase
The Company of Master Mariners of Canada said it is very much encouraged by the decision of the federal government to immediately acquire additional icebreaking vessels to supplement the existing Coast Guard fleet of capable but seriously aging icebreakers. Recent announcements propose the purchase of the Tor Viking, Balder Viking and Vider Viking from Norway's Trans Viking shipping company. They are to be refitted at Davie Shipbuilding in Levis QC with the first vessels to be operational for the 2018 - 2019 ice season in the Saint Lawrence, Saguenay and East Coast Newfoundland waters.
"The announcement to purchase and repurpose to Canadian requirements three icebreaking offshore supply vessels with towing capacity will greatly enhance reliability of the existing Coast Guard fleet," the Master Mariners said.
These three 18 year old vessels present a short term solution to CCG's growing demand for icebreaking services for Canada's Great Lakes, Saint Lawrence, Saguenay and Eastern Canadian waters as well as the Canadian Arctic which has seen a significant increase in marine traffic in recent years.
Three additional vessels will provide middle-class employment for Canadian marine professionals such as those represented by Master Mariners of Canada. These multipurpose vessels also respond to the 1990 "Brander-Smith" report which recommended the Government of Canada acquire powerful tugs, capable of towing disabled tankers, and other ships away from environmentally-sensitive areas.
Captain Christopher Hearn, President of Master Mariners of Canada said: "The Master Mariners of Canada fully support the direction of the Canadian Government to add additional capacity in way of additional ice capable vessels to provide ice breaking and support services to shipping on the Lakes, St, Lawrence and NL regions."
The "BALDER" trio is neither the final nor the ultimate solution to the icebreaker capacity required for Canada. New vessels with modern propulsion systems will be required to meet Canadian emissions requirements beyond 2020 and up to 2050 which may present a challenge for both the existing Canadian Coast Guard fleet and the "Balder trio".
Master Mariners of Canada encourages the Government of Canada to quickly review and decide on options available for the permanent acquisition of new icebreakers. (Photo Joachim Sjostrom).