Canadian Coast Guard Medium Interim Icebreakers
Icebreakers are an essential component of the Canadian Coast Guard fleet and are fundamental to ensure safe navigation, prevent ice jams and flooding, and maintain shipping routes in Canadian waters. From December to May, Coast Guard icebreakers operate in Atlantic Canada, on the St. Lawrence River, and the Great Lakes. They also operate in the Arctic from May to November to ensure safe navigation in Arctic waters and facilitate the escort of ships to resupply and refuel northern communities. In addition to icebreaking, these vessels are equipped to support other Coast Guard programs such as search and rescue, aids to navigation and environmental response.
In August 2018, the Government of Canada awarded a contract to Chantier Davie Canada Inc. of Lévis, Quebec for the acquisition of three medium interim icebreakers. These three icebreakers were acquired to supplement the Coast Guard’s existing fleet during vessel life extension and repair periods, by providing continuous on-water capability during scheduled maintenance periods while new ships are being built under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. Prior to entering the Coast Guard fleet, all three vessels were scheduled to undergo conversion and refit work at Chantier Davie Canada Inc.
Two of the three icebreakers have been delivered to the Canadian Coast Guard, CCGS Captain Molly Kool and CCGS Jean Goodwill, with the third icebreaker, CCGS Vincent Massey, expected in 2021.
About the medium interim icebreakers
- The icebreakers measure 93.7 metres in length and 18 metres in width. The vessels have 18,278 horsepower, and are equipped with twin propellers and twin rudders behind, providing the vessel with a high degree of manoeuvrability.
- The vessels have a cruising speed of 12 knots, a maximum speed of 16 knots, and can maintain a speed of 3 knots through ice up to 1 metre thick.
- All three icebreakers are equipped with a removable towing notch, located at the rear of the vessel. This notch greatly enhances the vessel’s icebreaking capabilities and these icebreakers are the first in the fleet to have this unique capability.
Naming of the medium interim icebreakers
In accordance with the Canadian Coast Guard ship naming policy, the three icebreakers were named to honour Canadian leaders who have made significant contributions to Canada.
MIB#1: CCGS Captain Molly Kool
The CCGS Captain Molly Kool is named after Captain Myrtle ‘Molly’ Kool, the first woman in North America to attain the certification of Master of a Cargo Steamship in the Home Trade.
The CCGS Captain Molly Kool was accepted into the Coast Guard fleet in December 2018, and its homeport is in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
MIB#2: CCGS Jean Goodwill
The CCGS Jean Goodwill was named in honour of Jean Goodwill, one of the founding members of the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada and a champion of public health services for Indigenous peoples.
CCGS Jean Goodwill joined the Coast Guard fleet in November 2020 and its homeport is in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
MIB#3: CCGS Vincent Massey
The CCGS Vincent Massey is named after the first Canadian appointed to the post of Governor General, which until then was occupied by British-born individuals. The Right Honourable Vincent Massey was appointed Governor General on the recommendation of then Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent.
The CCGS Vincent Massey’s homeport will be in Quebec City, Quebec, and it is expected to join the Coast Guard fleet in 2021.
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