Skip to main content



Monday, May 10, 2021 

As part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), the Government of Canada has announced that Seaspan Shipyards will design and build a Polar Icebreaker, the new flagship of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) icebreaking fleet.

The new ship construction programme, which will sustain about 1,400 jobs at Seaspan’s Vancouver shipyard and 1,400 additional jobs in the marine industry across the country, is welcome and timely news for Seaspan employees and its cross-Canada supply chain. Work is set to begin upon the award of the final contract.

With Canada’s current largest icebreaker, CCGS Louis S St-Laurent, due to retire at the end of the decade after 60 years of service, there is an urgent need to begin work on the replacement. The new icebreaker will be the largest ship in the Coast Guard fleet and will play a critical role in enabling the CCG to patrol and protect 243,000km of coastline – the longest national coastline in the world. Nearly 70% of that coastline is in the Arctic, a region of increasing interest from other countries and a growing national priority for Canada. The multi-mission ship will provide vital resupply to Arctic communities, support Arctic science, help ensure the free flow of trade and safe commercial shipping, and conduct search and rescue and environmental response.

Seaspan is set to work with Canada’s marine industry leaders, including Genoa Design International in Newfoundland and Labrador and Heddle Shipyards in Ontario, along with hundreds of small and medium Canadian companies. In line with the economic and industrial development objectives of the NSS to build and strengthen Canada’s marine sector, a recent study by Deloitte has indicated that for every dollar spent on the NSS at Seaspan, a dollar is added to Canada’s GDP.

The icebreaker, Seaspan’s fourth class of NSS vessel, will be constructed at the company’s Vancouver shipyard, which was purpose-built to deliver Canada’s largest and most complex ships. The Polar Icebreaker will be built concurrently with the second Joint Support Ship for the Royal Canadian Navy, the largest naval vessel by length ever to be built in Canada, and the largest and most advanced ocean science research ship for the Canadian Coast Guard.

Seaspan Shipyards CEO Mark Lamarre said: “This is an important day for Seaspan employees and suppliers, and for shipbuilding in Canada and BC. With the Polar program, we can keep the NSS working as the important economic engine and strategic national asset it was designed to be. We have experienced shipbuilders, a high-capacity multi-program shipyard and expertise in delivering large complex vessels. Together with Genoa Design and Heddle Shipyards and one of the best supply chains on the planet, we have an incredibly talented coast-to-coast team ready and waiting to start building this ship today.”

Reader Comments (0)

There are currently no comments on this article. Why not be the first and leave your thoughts below.

Leave Your Comment

Please keep your comment on topic, any inappropriate comments may be removed.

Return to index