October 28, 2022, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) officially welcomed His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Margaret Brooke (AOPV-431) into naval service with a commissioning ceremony.
This ceremony marks a significant achievement for both the RCN and the Canadian shipbuilding industry. The introduction of a second Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) delivered under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, which sustains thousands of jobs annually in Canada, will enhance the RCN’s ability to enforce sovereignty and meet the future defence challenges in Canada’s offshore and Arctic waters.
A ship’s commissioning ceremony is both a long-standing naval tradition, and, a special event for the ship’s company – proud sailors who – have just returned from the ship’s first deployment where they assisted communities in Atlantic Canada affected by Hurricane Fiona.
The commissioning of HMCS Margaret Brooke (AOPV-431) included a symbolic presentation of the commissioning pennant, as well as the symbolic presentation of the «keys to the ship» to the Commanding Officer, Commander Nicole Robichaud.
Specifically designed to patrol Canada’s offshore and Arctic waters, the Harry DeWolf-class AOPS bolsters RCN’s presence in the Arctic and its ability to operate globally protecting Canada’s interests at home and abroad.
The AOPS also augments Canada’s presence offshore, and will be capable of conducting a wide variety of operations abroad.
This is the first time in its 111-year history that the RCN is naming a class after a prominent Canadian Navy figure, Harry DeWolf. The remainder in the class will be named to honour other prominent Royal Canadian Navy heroes who served their country with the highest distinction.
HMCS Margaret Brooke (AOPV-431) is named in honour of Lieutenant-Commander Margaret Brooke, an RCN Nursing Sister decorated for gallantry during the Second World War for her actions followed the torpedoing and subsequent sinking of the Newfoundland ferry SS Caribou in 1942.
HMCS Margaret Brooke (AOPV-431), was launched in fall 2019, and delivered to the RCN in July 2021.
HMCS Margaret Brooke (AOPV-431) has already been hard-at-work, deploying on Operation NANOOK in August 2022, and on Operation LENTUS in September 2022.
September 2, 2022, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada celebrated another milestone in renewing the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) fleet with the delivery of the third Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS), Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Max Bernays (AOPV-432).
Built by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. of Halifax, Nova Scotia, this is the third of six new AOPS being delivered to the RCN through the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), an initiative that supports Canadian industry and jobs. Designed with a thick and robust hull, the AOPS significantly enhance the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) capabilities and presence in the Arctic, better enabling the RCN to assert and uphold Arctic sovereignty. With their considerable space to transport cargo and the capacity to embark a Cyclone helicopter, small vehicles, and deployable boats, the AOPS have the versatility to support a full range of CAF operations at home and contribute to global peace and security in coordination with our allies and partners.
HMCS Max Bernays (AOPV-432) will remain at the Her Majesty’s Canadian Dockyard Halifax while post-acceptance work and final ship preparation work are completed. In 2023, the ship will be transferred to the West Coast, with Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt as its designated homeport. Construction of the sixth AOPS began with steel cutting on August 15, 2022.
In support of Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Government of Canada continues to deliver the modern, functional, and effective ships that the RCN needs to support operations, while also rebuilding Canada’s marine industry with the creation of hundreds of new jobs under Canada’s NSS.
The first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS), HMCS Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430), was delivered to the Government of Canada on July 31, 2020, in Halifax.
This is the first warship to be delivered as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), and signifies the start of a long and exciting road for the Navy, with many more ships to come as part of our future fleet.
As outlined in Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Government of Canada is investing in six new AOPS to support the current and future needs of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN).
«Today’s delivery of the first AOPS is very exciting not only for currently serving members of the Royal Canadian Navy, but moreover, it is also inspiring for our aspiring shipmates, seeking state-of-the-art technology to form new experiences in and expand their professional horizons», said Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander of the RCN. «What this new fleet brings to the table is impressive. It is designed with a thick and robust hull that will allow it to operate in up to 120 cm of first-year sea ice. With its considerable space to efficiently transport cargo, it can accommodate a Cyclone helicopter as well as small vehicles, deployable boats, and cargo containers».
AOPS will meet the needs of our modern Navy and offers facilities that will create a better quality of life for our shipmates. Its modern facilities include gender-inclusive washrooms, individual crew accommodations, and the flexible use of common spaces, such as the briefing room, wardroom, and boarding party room, to serve as a silent space for prayer or meditation required for various religious practices. This underscores our commitment to improved inclusivity and well-being for our shipmates.
Designated the Harry DeWolf-class in honour of Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf, a Canadian naval hero, the delivery of this new class of ship represents an historic milestone for the RCN, marking the delivery of the first ship in the largest fleet recapitalization Canada’s peacetime history.
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430) will require significant work and additional tests and trials to complete construction and operationalize the ship. Once complete, the ship will undergo a formal commissioning ceremony in summer 2021, which will mark its entry into active naval service.
Three additional ships are currently in production, with delivery of the second ship expected in 2021, and construction of the fifth ship expected to begin in 2021.
Future crew members of HMCS Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430) are in the process of conducting operational readiness and training activities to familiarize themselves with the ship and how it functions. As part of this training, the RCN is planning a deployment near Newfoundland and Labrador this fall that will prepare the crew for a deployment to the Arctic next year.
«This new class of ship is built for a real and clear purpose, and will provide the RCN with a modern, effective and high-quality ship to patrol Canada’s three coasts», said Vice-Admiral McDonald. «We look forward to welcoming the first new AOPS into RCN service in summer 2021».
The AOPS will primarily conduct presence and surveillance missions along Canada’s maritime approaches, to know who is operating in our waters and be prepared to react to a wide variety of incidents. They will also support other government departments and agencies, such as the Canadian Coast Guard, that are focused on ensuring safe navigation of shipping in the Arctic waters.
These contemporary and multifunctional ships will be at the core of an enhanced Canadian Arctic presence, and will effectively and strategically complement the capabilities of our current and future warships through critical reconnaissance and surveillance operations.
They will also be capable of participating in a wide variety of international operations such as anti-smuggling, anti-piracy, and international security and stability. These ships will be able to contribute to humanitarian assistance, emergency response and disaster relief domestically and internationally, and undertake a diverse range of missions worldwide.
The RCN is growing in terms of capabilities, and that means that we will further enhance our ability to serve Canadians at home and abroad by being Ready to Help in terms of natural calamities and search and rescue; Ready to Lead in international maritime collaboration, and Ready to Fight and protect our Arctic waters and beyond.
For the first time in its 110-year history, the RCN has named a class of ships after prominent Canadian naval figures, proudly honouring their leadership, achievements and heroism while serving Canadian interests at sea.