Tankers To Refuel Canadian Navy Ships


Experts advise the usage of Tankers for Canadian Navy  instead of containers that are currently put to use.


According to expert opinion, the Canadian government is over-complicating plans to find an interim solution to the navy’s supply ship problem.

Mr. Ken Hansen, a former Navy officer and an expert maritime security analyst at Dalhousie University, said plans to outfit a single container ship to provide support to the Royal Canadian Navy was needlessly complex, expensive and time-consuming.

Hansen suggested that instead, tanker ships could be outfitted to deal with the urgent issue of fuel replenishment at sea, a job that would require a quarter of the time and cost of Project Resolve, proposed by shipbuilder Chantier Davie Canada in Quebec.

He said, “The ship (Davie) is building … will be able to do helicopter work, repair and maintenance. It will be able to carry ammunition, foodstuffs. It will have a mini hospital in it. It will have workshops, all those kinds of things, and that’s craziness.”


2 Queenston-class auxiliary vessels are being constructed by Seaspan on the West Coast as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy but won’t be ready until 2020, preventing the navy from undertaking any long-term operations in the interim.

A $700-million deal with Davie was agreed to convert the Asterix container ship. This is the project Resolve.

Hansen said the conversion under Project Resolve would take more than two years as it would require a complete overhaul of the ship’s interior, leaving the navy without significant functionality during that period. Outfitting a tanker with a boom, hose and pumps for transferring fuel would take six months at most.

Further, Hansen said the government could outfit the two ships it needs to supply both coasts for a price that would be a fraction of the Davie job.

It is worth noting that the Australian government did something similar in 2006, purchasing a commercial tanker and converting it into a fleet replenishment ship. The vessel, HMAS Sirius, is still operational.


In this connection, Hansen said, Davie bought a container ship and not a tanker. The reason is that the internal cargo space is completely open. So they can put in ammunition, freezers for food, meat, spare parts, lockers and all this stuff, but it’s going to take years to build this thing, and in the meantime the Navy is still out of fuel.

The Shipbuilding Association of Canada is urging the government to sign the contract with Davie, saying the project is lean and innovative and employs best practices from navies around the world.

Though Davie has already purchased the container ship, it won’t be able to commence work until it has entered into a contract with the government. With the Liberals’ decision to postpone completion of the deal, the future of the project is uncertain.

Hansen said the government should examine more time- and cost-effective measures to deal with the navy’s replenishment issue. “The ships need fuel first. Everything else is secondary.”


Source: The Chronicle Herald