Irving Shipbuilding handed off its second Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in a ceremony at Canadian Forces Base Halifax today.
The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Halifax MP Andy Fillmore and Irving Shipbuilding president Kevin Mooney were among the dignitaries on hand to mark the occasion.
From the Royal Canadian Navy, HMCS Margaret Brooke’s Commanding Officer, Commander Nicole Robichaud and Vice-Admiral Brian Santarpia, Commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic were in attendance.
The HMCS Margaret Brooke will now join HMCS Harry DeWolf, which was commissioned in June as the first of six AOPS ships into service with the RCN.
“Like the others of its class, this unique ship bears the name of a Second World War heroine,” says Santarpia of the ship’s dedication to a Royal Canadian Navy nursing sister who was decorated for gallantry after her actions following the torpedoing and sinking of the S.S. Caribou off the coast of Newfoundland in 1942. “I cannot think of a more fitting tribute to a remarkable Canadian.”
Tugged from Irving Shipbuilding to the Jetty NJ at CFB Halifax Dockyard, HMCS Margaret Brooke will remain docked in Halifax while it undergoes inspections, post-acceptance work and until final ship preparation is completed by the RCN.
A naming ceremony for the ship is expected to be held later in 2021 and it is anticipated sea trials will begin in the fall.
Once HMCS Margaret Brooke passes her post-acceptance sea trials and is formally commissioned into service in the latter half of 2022, the second AOPS will play a vital role in the far north as Russia, China and other countries all increase their maritime capabilities in the Arctic region.
“The Royal Canadian Navy will soon have another powerful, modern and agile ship in its fleet,” states Jordan during her speech at the ceremony. “A ship designed to work in some of the most extreme conditions on Earth; to carry out a variety of missions — from surveillance and search and rescue to humanitarian aid and disaster relief across the globe.”
The construction of both HMCS Margaret Brooke and HMCS Harry DeWolf have suffered from cost overruns and delays, in part due to COVID-19. However, in spite of the setbacks, the program is still considered a step forward in the success of Canada’s defence policy.
“Whoever said that work stops during a pandemic?” adds Fillmore during the ceremony. “These achievements speak volumes about the dedication and skill of our shipbuilders who have contributed to the strength and the effectiveness of Canada’s Navy fleet.”