Canada’s First New Joint Support Ship Receives Its Lucky Coin
(Source: Canadian Dept. of National Defence; issued Jan. 16, 2020)
Built to the design of the German Navy’s Berlin-class support ships, the future HMCS Protecteur, the first of two new Joint Support Ships for Canada, will cost twice as much for half the capability of comparable European support ships. (SeaSpan photo)
VANCOUVER, B.C. –--Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, on behalf of Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan, joined by Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, and Mark Lamarre, CEO of Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards, took part in a ceremonial keel laying event for the first of two Joint Support Ships (JSS).

The keel laying event is a significant milestone in a ship’s construction where a newly minted coin is placed near the keel, which traditionally runs along the length of the ship. The coin was laid by Seaspan’s Senior Procurement Specialist Jeff Smith, a 45-year employee of the company. It will remain for the duration of the ship’s life, and is said to bring good luck for the builders and all those who sail in the vessel.


This first JSS, the future HMCS Protecteur, is being built for the RCN through the National Shipbuilding Strategy. HMCS Protecteur and HMCS Preserver will replace the former Protecteur-class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessels.

As a warship based on the German Type-702 Berlin-class design, the JSS will include sophisticated damage control and self-defence systems that will allow it to conduct a full range of military operations in high-threat environments. In addition to providing critical at-sea replenishment, these multi-purpose warships will also be capable of seamlessly integrating with any Canadian or allied naval task group, and will significantly extend the range and endurance of these groups through the provision of fuel, ammunition, aviation support, food, spare parts, and medical and dental care.

Construction of the early blocks of the first JSS began in June 2018, with the delivery of the first ship expected in 2023.

“Ensuring that our sailors have the modern and effective ships they need to carry out their work at home and abroad is critical for maintaining Canada’s maritime security. Today is an important milestone in the construction of our new Joint Support Ships. This critical investment helps build a stronger and more secure Royal Canadian Navy,” said Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.

“Today’s ceremony marks another critical milestone in the renewal of the Royal Canadian Navy Fleet via Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy. The Protecteur-class ships that the Joint Support Ship project is delivering will build on our Navy’s proud legacy of delivering excellence at-sea. Once delivered, these warships will be strategic assets that will once again afford Canada the sovereign capacity to deliver - even in harms way - an enduring at-sea replenishment and joint sustainment capability as well as significant Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief capacity. Having been present for the project’s initial steel-cutting in 2018, I’m delighted to see the continued progress that today’s event represents,” said Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.

Quick facts
-- The first “grand-block” of the first JSS was assembled in November 2019. A “grand-block” is formed when four large ship blocks comprising more than 160 tons of steel are joined together. Three “grand-blocks” are currently in the process of being assembled.

-- While construction of the forward part of the ship is well underway, a contract for the remaining full construction of the first ship, the future HMCS Protecteur, is expected to be awarded in spring 2020.

-- The JSS are being built in modular blocks, and they do not have a traditional keel that runs the length of the ship. As a result, the coin was placed in an area near the centre section of the ship.

-- The design for the lucky coin features the badge of the future HMCS Protecteur on one side, and the crests/logos of the key members of the Government of Canada and Seaspan Shipyards JSS project team on the back.

-- After the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, the JSS is the second class of Royal Canadian Navy ships to begin construction in Canadian shipyards, as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.


(EDITOR’S NOTE: Click here for our June 2019 article on Canada’s shipbuilding ambitions: The Hidden Cost of Canada’s Shipbuilding Ambitions: Double the Cost for Twice the Risk.)

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Seaspan Shipyards Hosts Ceremonial Keel Laying for the Royal Canadian Navy’s Future Joint Support Ship
(Source: Seaspan Shipyards; issued January 16, 2020)
Today, Seaspan Shipyards and its more than 2,800 employees were proud to host the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Member of Parliament for North Vancouver, and Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, for a ceremonial keel laying event for the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) future Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Protecteur.

The keel laying event is a significant milestone in a ship’s construction during which a newly minted coin is placed near the keel where it will remain for the duration of the ship’s life. The coin is said to bring good luck for the builders and all those who sail in the vessel.

The future HMCS Protecteur, the first of two joint support ships to be built by Seaspan as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), will be able to conduct a full range of military operations in high-threat environments. The fourth vessel to be designed and built by Seaspan under the NSS and the largest naval ship by length ever built in Canada, the future HMCS Protecteur is scheduled for delivery in 2023.

In 2019, Seaspan delivered the Sir John Franklin and the Capt. Jacques Cartier Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels (OFSVs) to the Canadian Coast Guard. These were the first two large vessels built and delivered under the NSS. Seaspan will deliver a third OFSV to the Coast Guard – the future John Cabot – in summer 2020.

In addition to building and delivering state-of-the-art ships Seaspan is also delivering significant socio-economic benefits as a result of the NSS. Seaspan has helped to rebuild a marine industrial sector, creating thousands of jobs, leveraging a supply chain of more than 600 suppliers and generating more than $1 billion in economic activity across Canada.

“We are incredibly proud to reach this important milestone on the first of two Joint Support Ships that will be built by Seaspan. At Seaspan, we know that building ships requires you to build more than ships. You need to build a workforce, an industry, a supply chain, and strong partnerships. The JSS will be the largest naval ship ever built in Canada – a tremendous accomplishment for all the skilled and committed men and women involved in her design and construction,” said Mark Lamarre, Chief Executive Officer, Seaspan Shipyards.

QUICK FACTS

-- With a length of 173.7 metres and a breath of 24 metres, HMCS Protecteur will be the largest naval ship by length ever built in Canada.

-- Delivery of HMCS Protecteur is scheduled for 2023.

-- HMCS Protecteur and HMCS Preserver will replace the former Protecteur-class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessels. As a warship, it will include sophisticated damage control and self-defence systems that will allow it to conduct a full range of military operations in high-threat environments. In addition to providing critical at-sea replenishment, these multi-purpose warships will also be capable of seamlessly integrating with any Canadian or allied naval task group, and will significantly extend the range and endurance of these groups through the provision of fuel, ammunition, aviation support, food, spare parts, exercise and gym facilities, and medical and dental care.

-- Construction of the early blocks began in June 2018. Currently 16 blocks are complete and another 37 blocks are under construction.

-- More than 1,000 Seaspan employees will contribute to the construction of HMCS Protecteur.

-- HMCS Protecteur will have a cruising speed of 15 knots, a top speed of 20 knots and a range of ~10,800 nautical miles.

-- The keel laying event is a significant milestone in a ship’s construction where a newly minted coin is placed near the keel, which traditionally runs along the length of the ship. The coin was laid by 45-year Seaspan employee Jeff Smith, where it will remain for the duration of the ship’s life and is said to bring good luck for the builders and all those who sail in the vessel.

-- The jointly developed design for the keel coin features the crest of the future HMCS Protecteur on one side, and the crests/logos of the JSS project team on the back.


Seaspan Shipyards is a leader in Canada’s shipbuilding and ship repair industry. With modern facilities and a dedicated workforce of 2,300 in North Vancouver and Victoria, the company has proven itself to be a trusted partner on a range of complex projects for both government and the private sector.

Seaspan Shipyards is proud to be Canada’s chosen non-combat shipbuilder under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). In this capacity, the company is building state-of-the-art ships in Canada for the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy. Through its NSS-related work, Seaspan Shipyards is creating jobs, generating economic benefits and rebuilding Canada’s shipbuilding and marine industries.

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