Procurement of Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships Contains Titanic Blunder, Report Finds

Media Release
For Immediate Release
April 11, 2013

OTTAWA – A new report examining the government’s plans to build Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships has just been released by the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Titanic Blunder: Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships on course for disaster was written by University of British Columbia political science professor Michael Byers, and Stewart Webb, visiting research fellow at the Rideau Institute and research associate at the Salt Spring Forum.

The procurement of six to eight Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships was announced in 2007 with a budget of $3.1 billion, with an additional $4.3 billion for operations and maintenance over a projected 25-year lifespan.

The report’s main findings include:

  • The A/OPS are compromise vessels that will be ineffective in the Arctic and too slow and unstable for offshore patrol functions along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
  • The A/OPS will cost 8 to 10 times per vessel what Australia and the United States are paying for purpose-built high-speed patrol ships.
  • Further compromises can be expected, as the Department of National Defence struggles, within a budget that was set in 2007, to complete the procurement of vessels that are based on an entirely new design.

The report makes the following recommendations:

  • Cancel the procurement of Naval Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships.
  • Commission 6 to 8 purpose-built high-speed offshore patrol ships based on a proven design.
  • Rebuild the Coast Guard icebreaker fleet taking into account changing ice conditions and the need for the vessels to fulfill an additional, constabulary role.

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For more information contact:
Dr. Michael Byers, University of British Columbia
c. 250-526-3001 e. michael.byers@ubc.ca

Stewart Webb, Visiting Research Fellow, Rideau Institute
o. 613-565-9449 ext 26 c. 613-914-1534 e. stewart.tristan.webb@gmail.com

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