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Irving Shipbuilding cuts steel for the 7th AOPS and first vessel for the Canadian Coast Guard

HALIFAX, NS, August 8, 2023 – Today, Irving Shipbuilding Inc. cut steel for the seventh Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS), the first of two for the Canadian Coast Guard’s fleet.

Celebrated at the Halifax Shipyard with Robb Wight, Director General for Vessel Procurement of the Canadian Coast Guard, Rear-Admiral Josée Kurtz (Royal Canadian Navy), and the Hon. Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, today’s steel cutting of AOPS 7 marks the official start of construction on the vessel and once again recognizes the significant progress being achieved at the Halifax Shipyard.

The Canadian Coast Guard’s AOPS will be tasked with a wide range of missions. Both ships will operate as the Canadian Coast Guard’s primary platform with increased capabilities to support fisheries enforcement on Canada’s east coast, support search and rescue and icebreaking operations, while strengthening Canada’s presence in the Arctic.

Under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), Irving Shipbuilding is constructing six AOPS vessels for the Royal Canadian Navy, two AOPS for the Canadian Coast Guard and 15 Canadian Surface Combatants (CSC) for the Royal Canadian Navy.

The first three AOPS have been delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy, with AOPS 4 to be delivered later this summer. The mega blocks of AOPS 5 will be joined in August 2023 and construction on AOPS 6 is continuing with the keel laying this month. Both AOPS 5 and 6 are on schedule for delivery in 2024 and 2025 respectively.

The CSC program will form the backbone of Canada’s future naval combat capability. In ten short years, the NSS has put an end to the boom-and-bust cycles that characterized Canada’s shipbuilding industry for decades previous. Halifax shipbuilders have been able to focus on building back critical supply chains and developing their advanced skills to produce the cornerstone of the naval fleet which will keep Canada’s sailors safe, protect Canadians, and confidently deliver on our international security responsibilities abroad.

“The milestones we are achieving on AOPS today are a direct result of our workers’ commitment to delivering on Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy,” says Dirk Lesko, President, Irving Shipbuilding Inc. “Shipbuilding at its core is about people. We are reestablishing Canada’s shipbuilding industrial base right here in Halifax and Atlantic Canada. With the completion of each ship, there are significant learnings which deliver continuous improvement, efficiencies and shortened delivery schedules for the next vessel. Every year, our workforce is growing and honing their skills, becoming more advanced shipbuilders. We take immense pride in serving our country’s navy and coast guard.”

Additional quotes

“Today’s announcement will improve critical project infrastructure to enhance and accelerate construction of the Canadian Surface Combatants. Through the National Shipbuilding Strategy, our government is helping to restore our shipyards, rebuild our marine industry and create good Canadian jobs, including right here in Nova Scotia, while ensuring our sovereignty and protecting our interests at home and abroad.”

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

“Our Coast Guard members are essential in keeping our waterways clean, safe and accessible. Today, as we celebrate the start of the construction of the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships, we are proud to invest in the Canadian Coast Guard’s fleet of the future and provide state-of-the-art equipment to our personnel.”

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard

“Our government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy is delivering positive economic and social benefit to our region while supporting our Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard. With today’s announcement we are underscoring our government's commitment to the shipbuilding industry as a major contributor to our local economy and our national defense. The success of the National Shipbuilding Strategy is a testament to the hard work and ingenuity of our shipbuilders here in Halifax.”

Andy Fillmore, MP for Halifax and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry.

“The value of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy to Nova Scotians and Atlantic Canadians cannot be understated. We’re committed to renewing our Navy and Coast Guard’s vessel fleet to keep Canadians safe, while creating good-paying jobs that support families and help to strengthen and grow our communities. Halifax West and HRM benefit enormously from this significant strategic investment.”

Lena Metlege-Diab, MP for Halifax West

“We are very pleased to join our industry partners today as we celebrate several significant Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship program milestones and begin to prepare for the construction of the Canadian Surface Combatants. The Royal Canadian Navy is continually striving to deliver exceptional operations at sea and the Canadian Surface Combatants will be Canada’s major surface component of maritime combat power. Not only are we working diligently to offer careers full of adventure, opportunity and professional challenges, we are also providing more platforms for our sailors and officers to pursue these opportunities, while serving the interests of the Canadian Armed Forces and Canada, both here at home and around the world. “

Rear-Admiral Josée Kurtz, Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic and Joint Task Force Atlantic

“Today marks an important milestone for the Canadian Coast Guard as construction of our first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship officially begins. With their versatility and endurance, these vessels will serve Canada as an important platform for patrol, icebreaking operations, and scientific research, while being able to carry out a variety of other vital missions.”

Mario Pelletier, Canadian Coast Guard Commissioner


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