USCG Ice breakers


The TOR Viking is already an Icebreaker…and the Balder, and all 3 actually.


So I understand the project wrong? I thought they were actually going to convert some vessels into icebreakers including the icebreakers they bought from Viking.


No that’s right, They are AHTS’s, and Icebreakers as well. And very effective ones. The conversion is to make them suitable for the Canadian Coast Guard mission.


Then it makes more sense, and not as stupid as I thought. But why call it conversion? A conversion is to change a vessel from one role into something different, this is just taking existing icebreakers and slapping a ROV hanger on them.


They are probably getting them dirt cheap, the North Sea market is extremely competitive with regards to equipment.


Yeah, a lot of modern vessels are layed up on the coast of Norway. If Canada has no political problems with foreign built vessels they should buy them. They are useless on the Norwegian market but still great vessels.




China is going to the Arctic big style:


Canada allows foreign built vessels into the coastal trade.

Canada allows foreign flag vessels in the coastal trade, but they must be 100% Canadian crewed within a fairly short period of time. (Maybe some other exceptions).

Canada allows permanent residents to obtain a Canadian CoC. Canadian citizenship is not required.

Maersk operates some older OSVs in Canada. Secunda Canada is Norwegian managed (and possibly owned) and it operates second hand Norwegian built OSVs.


So everything is ready for a beautiful marriage between Norwegian vessels and Canadian mariners. It’s a lot of gold on the Norwegian coast just rotting away, hanging like a sword over the spot market. Canada can get great vessels cheap and Norwegian owners can get rid of a lot of surplus vessels.

How to kick-start this? Hmmmm.


The Canadian offshore drilling industry is quite small and has been slow to grow. A remote harsh environment with large icebergs is a major factor off Newfoundland. The Sable Island gas fields seem to have pretty much fizzled out. BP and Shell have recent deep water leases 200 miles south of Halifax that are thought to be large oil plays. To my knowledge, they have not been drilled yet.


Sounds like Canada needs to get a move on if they want to secure “cheap” (Norwegian cheap) vessels on the Norwegian market. We even have the experience working in harsh environments. Haven’t been myself, but a lot of Norwegians was working with the Russians developing oil fields in the Kara sea before all the present shit happened. My former company had 3 vessels working in Russia.

(Fuck I get mad at even thinking about how much Norway is losing on the resurrection of a cold war with Russia, we had a lot of business with them) if you want to see vessels in layup. Bottom of the page.


The company I work for is owned and based out of Montreal and has proposed building (3) ice breakers for the Canadian Coast Guard. They are proposing taking all of the financial, engineering and shipbuilding risks and will lease them back to the Coast Guard for 15 years but insist they must be built in Norway to remain on schedule, budget, etc… and will have them delivered in 24 months. Designs are already in place minus the few extreme items the Coast Guard will undoubtedly want.

Can’t understand why they would be converting vessels and not also be looking to build a few for the future as well.


I saw the Fednav renderings online. The same shipyard (Havyard) also built the Tor Viking series that was now acquired by CCG.

When it comes to these “offshore icebreakers” such as Tor Viking class and the Aiviq, my personal favourite is the 2010 ice season where two Tor Viking class icebreakers got stuck within spitting distance from each other (and the ships they were supposed to assist), and had to call in a real icebreaker (22,000 shp Atle-class quad-screw). There was even a collision between two ferries (fender-bender) and I helped to fix that few months later.

I bet this was one of the reasons why the SMA decided not to continue the charter. Also, the design point for future Baltic escort icebreakers is generally “ability to overcome anything it can find in the Baltic Sea” so that this kind of embarrassment is never repeated…


Here’s a few statistics about Canadian icebreaker fleet (both CCG and former commercial), and the impact of the interim solution on e.g. the average age of vessels:

#icebreaker fleet statistics (4/5): Canada. Average age in black, fleet size in red, and current fleet as individual ships showing vessel age distribution. Includes 1980s Beaufort Sea offshore icebreakers and the impact of the three interim icebreakers announced last week.

#icebreaker fleet statistics 2 (4/5): Canada. Age distribution and average age of current, historical and interim fleets, and indication if vessel was acquired from or sold in second-hand market. Non-CCG vessels were built for 1980s offshore drilling in the Beaufort Sea.

(open the tweets for pictures)


In the meantime, the Russians commission yet another real icebreaker:

“The Aleksandr Sannikov is the most sophisticated diesel-electric icebreaker in Russia.”


Meanwhile in the US:



From Arctic Today:


Looks like Edison Chouest is going to be busy building new ships for quite a while.


“Bollinger is one of five companies awarded contracts last year for heavy polar icebreaker design studies“

They have a 1 in 5 chance of getting the contract. I would bet that the contract will also be split up with the designs. Once the politicians get there claws in it like the LCS. It’ll bring in some pork barrels.