The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) marked the traditional keel-laying ceremony for the second Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel, HMCS Margaret Brooke, at Irving Shipbuilding’s Halifax Shipyard on May 29, 2017.
A keel-laying ceremony is one of the most significant dates in a ship’s construction. This ceremony was marked by the placing of a coin onto the keel of the ship by Olivia Strowbridge, the first woman in a trade supervisory role at Halifax Shipyard, and its first female certified ship spray painter. In shipbuilding tradition, this coin will remain embedded within the ship’s structure for its entire life, and will invite good luck for all who sail in it. Once the coin was placed, Ms. Strowbridge declared that the keel is now “well and truly laid”.
The ceremony was also attended by Rear-Admiral John Newton, Commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic; Mr. Kevin McCoy, President of Irving Shipbuilding; and Commander Michele Tessier, the future Commanding Officer of HMCS Margaret Brooke, among others.
The coin placed on this ship depicts a four-leaf clover; a symbol with special significance to LCdr Brooke, who carried two four-leaf clovers in a silver locket as a good luck charm following her survival of the sinking of the ferry SS Caribou in 1942. The Harry DeWolf-class Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels will increase Canada’s capability in the Arctic and along its other two coasts. They will deliver armed, seaborne surveillance and increase Canada’s awareness of activities in these regions.
Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
“With two of the six Harry DeWolf-class Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels now in full production, Canada is further demonstrating its commitment to continental maritime security alongside our partners, which includes in our own Arctic waters. These ships will serve Canada well for many years, here at home and around the world.”
Steven MacKinnon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement
“This is an important milestone for the National Shipbuilding Strategy. We are making significant progress on the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships and delivering on our commitment to providing the men and women of the Royal Canadian Navy with the equipment they need to do their work.”
Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy
“This keel-laying is another exciting step forward on the road towards Canada’s future fleet. I could not be more proud to have the ship’s future Commanding Officer, Cdr Michele Tessier, at the event to participate and represent our generation as we look to follow in the wake of our naval heroes. This innovative and highly effective class of ship will add to our ability to provide flexible options to Government, to further ensure the defence and security of Canadians."