I am pleased to see this. Our government is way too stingy with the Navy and the CG, and while they just announced a new icebreaking CG frigate yesterday, it's good to see they've got something big and fast in that very busy stretch of water.
From yesterday's press release:
The Canadian Coast Guard’s most capable icebreaker, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2017.
As such, the Government will replace this vessel with a new polar class icebreaker that has even greater icebreaking capabilities than the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent.
Designing and building a massive Polar class icebreaker is a major national project. The John G. Diefenbaker is expected to take 8-10 years to design and build and carries a price-tag of $720 million.
The polar icebreaker will be approximately 140 metres in length and capable of sustained operations in the Arctic Archipelago over three seasons per year in very difficult ice conditions. (e.g., the ability to continuously break ice up to 2.5 meters thick). It will carry a crew of approximately 60 with accommodations for an additional 50 people. The polar icebreaker will also be able to accommodate a helicopter when required and has large cargo carrying capacity.
For comparison, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent is able to operate two seasons, can continuously break ice up to 1.3 meters thick and has a crew of 44.
The CCGS JOHN G. DIEFENBAKER will:
# project a visible presence nine months a year throughout the Arctic portion of Canada’s Economic Exclusive Zone;
# promote Arctic science, by providing a platform for the conduct of multi-agency, multi-disciplinary scientific and engineering research and development on behalf of Fisheries and Oceans and other government departments and agencies;
# collect weather and ice information through the measurement, monitoring and reporting of weather and ice conditions in all areas of operational interest; and
# contribute to continued Northern economic and commercial development.