CCGS John G Diefenbaker icebreaker

Specifications of CCGS John G Diefenbaker icebreaker

Year built2029 new ship
BuilderSeaspan Vancouver Shipyards Co Ltd (Vancouver, Canada)
ClassPolar Class 2 Icebreaker (VARD 9-206)
Building costCAD 3,625 billion (USD 2,89 B / GBP 2,1 B / EUR 2,45 B)
Propulsion power34 MW / 45595 hp
Speed18 kn / 33 kph / 21 mph
Length (LOA)150 m / 492 ft
Beam (width)28 m / 92 ft
Passengers40 - 65
Crew60
Sister-shipsTBN (2030)
Christened bytba
OwnerCanada
OperatorCanadian Coast Guard

CCGS John G Diefenbaker icebreaker Review

Review of CCGS John G Diefenbaker icebreaker

CCGS John G Diefenbaker is the first in a two-ship series of Canadian Arctic icebreakers of the new "Polar Class 2" developed on Vard Marine's "VARD 9-206" design. "CCGS" stands for "Canadian Coast Guard Ship". When completed (currently on order, planned for commissioning in December 2029), the John Diefenbaker icebreaker will be CCG's flagship vessel, replacing the current flagship CCGS Louis S St-Laurent (1969-built), which is now Canada's largest icebreaker, with GT 11345 tons, powerplant 29,4 MW, propulsion power 20,1 MW, range 26700 mi (43000 km), endurance 205 days.

CCGS Louis S St-Laurent is currently scheduled for decommissioning in 2030, CCGS Terry Fox - in 2032.

The new Canadian icebreakers will serve various Arctic missions in multi-year/heavy ice conditions, including maintaining Canada's sovereignty and presence in the Arctic Ocean, national security, research (science, weather- and ice monitoring), ship escort/safety (emergency response, search and rescue, commercial shipping assistance), local communities (resupply and logistics support), environmental/ecological (fisheries conservation, marine ecosystems protection, environmental response).

The Canadian Coast Guard is responsible for patrolling and protecting the world's longest national coastline (150000+ mi / 243000+ km), of which ~70% is Arctic. With a total of 18 icebreakers (as of 2022), the Canadian Coast Guard currently operates the world's second-largest icebreaking fleet - following only Russia with 40+ active vessels (including 27 ocean icebreakers) plus 11 newbuilds (on order or under construction, including nuclear-powered). It was estimated that the "Polar Class 2" ships' construction will generate ~700 new jobs (~350 at each shipyard) plus between ~1400-2500 nationwide jobs across Canada's marine industry (manufacturing, supply, logistics, etc), in addition to CAD 17,49 billion in contracts (already awarded to Canadian shipbuilders under the NSS) for new ships for the Canadian Navy and Coast Guard.

CCGS John G Diefenbaker icebreaker ship

The "VARD 9 206" project is a "Polar Icebreaker" designed by the Fincantieri Group-owned company Vard Marine Inc (1983-founded, with parent company Vard Group AS, and being a subsidiary of Vard Marine US Inc). The company specializes in naval architecture and marine engineering, developing designs for various types of vessels from the following series: VARD 1 (Platform Supply), VARD 2 (Anchor Handling Tug Supply), VARD 3 (Offshore Subsea Construction), VARD 4 (Renewable), VARD 6 (Ferries), VARD 7 (Naval and Security), VARD 9 (Specialized, including Icebreakers, Polar Research SHips, and Floating Powerplants), as well as CSS DESIGNS (Compact Semi Submersibles). VARD 9 series include ice-strengthened vessels specializing in polar research and offshore support and patrol, as well as ferries (RoPax/cargo and passengers and RoRo/Roll-on/Roll-off, like car carriers) and cruise ships. Among the Vard Marine-designed icebreakers are USCGC Healy (2000-built, Project WAGB-20) and USCGC Mackinaw (2006-built, Project WLBB-30).

Each of the two sisterships (John Diefenbaker and TBN) will be constructed by a different shipbuilder. The decision was announced in May 2021, when the Canadian government announced that for these projects will contract the companies Seaspan Shipyards (Vancouver, British Columbia, part of Seaspan ULC) and Davie Yards Inc (Quebec, fka Davie Shipbuilding).

The budget for the expanded "Polar Class 2 Icebreaker" program was revised and increased thrice - in 2008 (CAD 721 million for one unit), in 2013 (CAD 1,3 billion for one unit), and in 2021 (CAD 7,25 billion for two units/or CAD 3,625 billion per ship, or USD 2,89B / EUR 2,45B / GBP 2,1B). The first unit (John Diefenbaker) was originally planned to enter service in 2017.

John Diefenbaker Vessel details

The ship is named after John George Diefenbaker (1895-1979) - Canada's 13th Prime Minister (in office between June 1957 - April 1963).

  • Displacement tonnage: 23700 tonnes
  • LOA length: 150 m (492 ft)
  • Beam/width: 28 m (92 ft)
  • Max draft: 10,5 m (34 ft)
  • Max depth: 13,5 m (44 ft)
  • Hull Classification/Ice Class: PC2 / "Polar Class 2 Icebreaker"
  • Icebreaking capability: 2,5 m (8,2 ft) at speed 3 knots
  • Max speed: 20 knots (37 kph / 23 mph) in clear water/open sea
  • Service speed: 12 knots (22 kph / 14 mph) in "Douglas Sea State 3" sea condition (waves of max 1,3 m / 4 ft)
  • Max ice speed: 3 knots (5,6 kph / 3,5 mph) in max ice thickness 2,5 m
  • Range: 28600 nautical miles (53000 km / 32900 mi)
  • Endurance/autonomous navigation: 270 days (logistical), 25 days (at full power/without bunkering)
  • Crew capacity: 60 (core), 40 (additionally assigned personnel/depending on missions)
  • Passengers capacity: 25 (accommodated in separate/dedicated staterooms)
  • Carried aircraft: two medium-lift support helicopters
  • Aviation facilities: Helideck (helipad with a capability to receive larger helicopters/for refueling), Helicopter Hangar

The powerplant is diesel-electric, based on 5x main engines (diesel generators positioned in 2x engine rooms/2x 9 MW plus 3x 8 MW), with combined power output 42 MW.

The hybrid propulsion system is based on 2x wing shaft lines (each 11 MW) driving aft FPPs (fixed pitch propellers) plus 1x azimuthing bow thruster (12 MW), or combined power output 34 MW.

Shipboard facilities include modular mission spaces, laboratories, a scientific moon pool, cargo hold and garage, several cranes (with different lifting capacities). The moon pool (aka "wet porch") is a floor opening in the hull that gives direct access to the water below and allows the crew to deploy underwater instruments (including ROVs and AUVs) and divers.

Note: For information regarding the project's history and shipbuilders see the ship's Wiki page.

CCGS John G Diefenbaker icebreaker - user reviews and comments

CCGS John G Diefenbaker icebreaker Wiki

On February 27, 2008, Peter MacKay (Canada's Defence Minister) officially announced the CAD 720 million "Polar Class Icebreaker Project". The program was confirmed on August 28th by Stephen Harper (Canada's Prime Minister).

On April 28, 2010, the CCG announced that the vessel's conceptual design is to be completed in 2011, construction works to start in 2013, and planned delivery/commissioning in 2017-Q4.

In February 2011, STX Canada Marine Inc (now Vard Marine Inc) was awarded the design contract for the new CCG icebreaker. The works were conducted in Vancouver BC, with the support of a design team from AARC-Aker Arctic Technology (Finland), SNC-Lavalin Group Inc (Canada), Indal Technologies Inc (part of Curtiss-Wright Corporation, USA), NCE-Noise Control Engineering LLC (USA). The design was published in 2013 and provided to Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards (selected as the shipbuilder). The vessel was planned to be completed and operational by December 2017.

In October 2012, the design was tested (1:25 scale ship model) in an ice tank.

In May 2013, Canadian media reported that the John Diefenbaker ship will be delayed and that the CCG will plan a drydock refit for CCGS Louis S St-Laurent, to keep its flagship operational through 2022.

On May 22, 2019, Justin Trudeau (Canada's Prime Minister) announced a Government investment of CAD 15,7 billion (USD 11,8 billion) to renew CCG's fleet with up to 16 multi-purpose icebreaking vessels (to be built by Seaspan/Vancouver Shipyard) plus 2 offshore patrol ships (to be built by Irving Shipbuilding/Halifax Shipyard). In early-August was announced a program for procuring 6 new (Canada-built) icebreakers to replace the current CCG fleet's aging boats.

On May 6, 2021, the Canadian federal government announced that the "Polar Class Icebreaker Project" (part of NSS-National Shipbuilding Strategy) is moving ahead and that two heavy icebreakers in the CCG fleet will allow maintaining a year-round Arctic presence.

In October 2011, Seaspan Vancouver Shipyards Ltd was selected as a strategic partner (for the NSS program) and awarded the contract to build all large non-combat ships, including John Diefenbaker. Following the contract, the company invested CAD 185+ million in infrastructure upgrades, and the Vancouver Shipyard was purpose-built for the Polar Icebreaker's construction.

In 2019, Seaspan delivered CCGS Sir John Franklin - the first ship under the NSS program. As of 2019, the shipbuilder had contributed CAD 1,5+ billion to Canada's GDP and ~CAD 1 billion was spent on contracts to 670+ nationwide suppliers.

On June 10, 2020, Seaspan Vancouver Shipyards Ltd signed an exclusive partnership with Heddle Marine Service Inc (part of Heddle Shipyards - the Great Lakes' largest shipyard operator) for the CCG's "Polar Icebreaker" project.

  • Under the agreement's terms, if Seaspan is awarded the project, Heddle will manufacture ship modules at its three shipyards in Ontario (Hamilton, St Catharines, Thunder Bay) and the modules will be then barged to Vancouver for assembly.
  • The deal was signed by Mark Lamarre (Seaspan Shipyards' CEO) and Shaun Padulo (Heddle Shipyards' President).

Davie Shipbuilding also started competing for the "Polar Icebreaker" program. On February 2, 2021, the shipbuilder signed a strategic partnership agreement with GE (General Electric Co).

  • The division GE Power Conversion manufactures a full spectrum of integrated diesel-electrical propulsion systems and powerplants, including the ice-classed SEAJETTM pods that vary in power output between 7,5-15 MW per unit. The propulsion system is based on an electric motor (hull-mounted) directly connected to the propellor. The technology, used on all newest cruise ships, greatly improves maneuverability and fuel efficiency and also frees cargo deck space.
  • The deal was signed by James Davies (Davie Shipbuilding's CEO and President) and Philippe Piron (GE Power Conversion's CEO and President).

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