Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels


The Government of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) is being implemented  with the goal of providing the Canadian Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy with the vessels they need to better perform their important work. The NSS is also revitalizing Canadian shipyards, and our marine industry, while creating good quality jobs and new business opportunities across the country.

The Government of Canada awarded a contract to Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards (VSY), under the NSS, to build three new Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels (OFSV) as part of the Canadian Coast Guard’s long-term fleet renewal. The OFSVs are the first class of large vessels to be built by VSY, as part of the non-combat package under the NSS.

The three new OFSVs will be the primary platform for Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists, and the Canadian Coast Guard, to conduct important research activities. This work includes monitoring the health of fish stocks, better understanding the impacts of climate change on our environment, and supporting research that allows us to better protect our oceans.

About the Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels 

  • Each OFSV include four science labs: a wet lab, a dry lab, an ocean lab and a control lab.
  • The OFSVs are 63.4 metres long, with a displacement of approximately 3,212 tonnes and a top speed of 13 knots.
  • Each vessel contains more than 10 kilometres of piping supporting over 20 systems and is composed of over 130,000 individual parts.
  • The new vessels support scientific research, through work such as:
    • performing fishing and acoustic surveys of fish and invertebrates;
    • collecting information on the abundance and distribution of marine species; and,
    • collecting data on marine ecosystems and the impacts of human activity on fisheries resources and ecosystem health.
  • The new OFSVs, although primarily focused on science and research, also have the capability to support search and rescue, and environmental response and operations, as required.

Naming of new Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels

In accordance with the Canadian Coast Guard’s ship naming policy, Offshore Fisheries Sciences Vessels are named after former scientists and explorers who made a significant contribution to the history of Canada.

OFSV#1: CCGS Sir John Franklin

Sir John Franklin (1786 –1847) was a British naval officer and explorer. He led multiple high-profile expeditions to Canada’s arctic, which ultimately led to the detailed mapping of previously uncharted northern coastlines.

OFSV#2: CCGS Capt Jacques Cartier

Jacques Cartier (1491 – 1557) was a French navigator and explorer. In 1534, he was tasked with exploring the New World under the orders of King Francois I. Jacques Cartier is recognized as the first European to map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River.

OFSV#3: CCGS John Cabot

John Cabot, born Giovanni Caboto (c. 1450 – unknown), was an Italian merchant and explorer. Under the direction of King Henry VII, Cabot was tasked with discovering trade routes to the West. Cabot is the earliest known European, since the Norse Vikings, to explore and make landfall on the Newfoundland and Labrador coast in 1497.

June 2019

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