CCG Polar Icebreaker and Strategic Sealift Concept for Canada: Something to Consider

By David Dunlop, 28 June 2022

LNG carrier SCF
The South Korean-built Christophe De Margerie ice class LNG carrier, in service with the Russian Sovcomflot shipping company.

This concept has been bantered about before but deserves a second look for the acquisition of Canadian Polar-class icebreakers and Strategic Sealift Capabilities. The use of the South Korean Christophe De Margerie Arc 7 Ice Class LNG Carrier as a blueprint to build Canada’s CCG John G. Diefenbaker Polar-class icebreakers and possible RCN Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) “Big Honkin’ Ships” has merit and should at least be seriously considered. This class is well suited for high Arctic icebreaking duties and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief response The class has a tonnage of 80,000t with a length of 299m, a beam of 50m and a draft of 11.1m. They can be built in South Korea by DMSE and could be shortened in length by approximately 70 to 140m to meet RCN and CCG requirements and would be built in South Korea at a price of approximately $600M CAD each at 2022 prices. If acquired 'as is' by Canada, these vessels could then be shortened and retrofitted to CCG Polar 7 and RCN Strategic Sealift specifications at Davie Shipyard.

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Volume 18, Number 1 (2022)

The world has changed since the last issue of Canadian Naval Review. We had all hoped that Russia was bluffing as it massed troops on the border of Ukraine. It wasn’t. And now we watch in horror at the brutality with which Russia attacks its neighbour.

But spring arrives regardless. And as the flowers and birds of spring appear, it’s time for another issue of Canadian Naval Review. In the spring issue we have a special treat for readers. It’s a theme issue on the Arctic. The topic is timely because even though Russia did not invade an Arctic country, its actions have nonetheless had repercussions in the North.

We are honoured to publish an article written by the former Commanding Officer of HMCS Harry DeWolf, Commander Corey Gleason. Commander Gleason gives us an account of the trip that HDW took through the Northwest Passage in 2021, the first Canadian navy ship to do so since 1954. In our second article, “A Tale of Two Ships: HMCS Labrador and HMCS Harry DeWolf,” Roger Litwiller examines that earlier trip through the North. In this article we learn the details of Labrador’s voyage and compare the experience with that of HDW. In our third article, “The Arctic Council and Oil Pollution Prevention in the Arctic Ocean,” Jeff Gilmour looks at some of the work that has been done by the Arctic Council to address the possibility of large-scale oil pollution in the North. How this will change in the light of the Arctic Council’s pause in activity in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is yet to be seen. We are very pleased to have a contribution from Natan Obed, President of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), who talks about the Inuit relationship with the lands and waters of the North/Northwest Passage and perspectives on future developments there. And we have a contribution from Captain Simon Dockerill who discusses his experiences in the Arctic with the Canadian Coast Guard.

This just scratches the surface of the interesting material in this theme issue. We also include commentaries about the value of the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships, landing craft for the navy in the Arctic, getting serious about Arctic defence, and Russian naval capabilities in the North. And we have a commentary from Andreas Østhagen who examines Norway’s Arctic Policy – a commentary and policy that has had to be re-thought since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

And, of course, we have amazing photos that you won’t want to miss.

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