From the RFI:
Due to age and reduced availability of the icebreaking fleet, the Coast Guard anticipates that it may require additional icebreaking capacity provided by one (1) to five (5) Icebreakers (Heavy, Medium, or Light) at various times over the next number of years. Accordingly, the CCG must investigate potential bridging strategies to address potentialgaps in service.
The Icebreaking capable vessels that are approaching the limit of their notional operational life and undergoing Vessel Life Extensions (VLEs) to keep them in service until replacement vessels can be built and delivered via the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The VLEs are scheduled to take place from 2017 until 2023, with up to three (3) vessels undergoing repairs each year. While efforts are being made to minimize work that would occur during an icebreaking season, the VLE work will remove some vessels from service for a significant period of time.The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) currently has two (2) Heavy Ice Breakers (HI), four (4) Medium Icebreakers (MI), and nine (9) Multi-Task Light Icebreakers in its inventory. The Coast Guard deploys these vessels in Canada’s Arctic waters during the late-Juneto mid-November period (the Arctic season), and South of 60oLatitude from the December to May period (the Southern season). The vessels are based in Quebec City, Quebec; Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; Victoria, British Columbia and Argentia and St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Coast Guard is also looking at commercial towing options for standby tugs. the John 1 Incident (we covered that tow well) was specifically mentioned as a case where this service would have been beneficial. It looks like the government is looking to buy the services of an existing company.
Given the number of out of work offshore supply vessels – some of which are ice class, there should be some interesting responses.