Asterix at Davie Shipyard

More information on Project Resolve

Jon Rosamond, writing for IHS Jane’s Navy International, has an article entitled “Canada turns to Asterix for stop gap at-sea support.” The article was published on 04 October 2015.

Rosamond confirms that the identity of the ship is MV Asterix. The website reports her current position as Quebec City, having arrived there from Singapore, after departing in mid-September. Asterix (IMO number 9348182) is a container ship currently flagged as a Liberian and home-ported in Monrovia. Her Gross Register Tonnage is 18,199 tonnes. reports that Asterix is quite new, built in 2010 at the German shipyard Nordic Yards Wismar. The former owner and manager of the ship was Capital Ship Management from Athens. Despite its relative newness, Asterix has been renamed three times since construction when she was first named Cynthia (until June 2010) then Neermoor (until October 2010), Amorito (until November 2013) when she was final renamed Asterix. The frequent renaming is probably representative of the state of the shipping industry in a global economic downturn, rather than a material problem with the ship.

With a pre-conversion length of 183 metres, Asterix is longer than the Protecteur-class ships (171.9 metres). reports the ships maximum speed at 19.9 knots with her average speed on transit as 17.6 knots. (These numbers are changing over time, now indicating a maximum of 32 knots which seems unlikely.) This puts her within the speed parameters for the 20-knot Protecteur-class ships. Not built as a tanker, the fuel capacity of the interim ship will probably be less than the 14,500 tonnes of fuel and 400 tonnes of aviation fuel carried by Protecteur.

Rosamond reports that the purchase price for Asterix was CAD20 million (USD15 million) and the conversion cost is estimated to be CAD250-300 million (USD190-228 million). Once rebuilt, the ship will be chartered to the RCN by a holding company called Project Resolve at an annual cost of up to CAD75 million. The plan is for Asterix to arrive at Aecon's Pictou shipyard on 6 October for initial conversion work, before moving to Lévis in the second quarter of 2016.

Using the estimated total costs (CAD270-320 million) for the project to break even the term of the lease will have to run at least between 3.6 and 4.3 years. The plan includes Chantier Davie providing “a civilian crew and a Davie-led technical management package.” This will entail extra cost for Davie and will extend the estimated time for achieving a break-even point in the leasing arrangement.

The article does not report an estimated time of completion for the conversion work nor for a entry into service.