Canadian Coast Guard’s latest icebreakers

In August 2018, the Government of Canada, on behalf of the Canadian Coast Guard, awarded Chantier Davie a $610 million contract for the purchase of 3 icebreakers. This included conversion of the first vessel for the Canadian Coast Guard. These icebreakers will assist with icebreaking operations while our existing fleet undergoes vessel life extension, repair and planned maintenance periods.

These icebreakers will carry out icebreaking duties in Atlantic Canada, the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes and Arctic regions.

All 3 icebreakers are equipped with a removable towing notch. This notch allows for safe and secure closed-coupled towing of other vessels. The notch is located at the rear of the vessel allowing it to break ice and tow at the same time. These icebreakers are the first in the federal fleet to have this unique towing capability.

Deputy Commissioner Operations, Mario Pelletier discussing the addition of 3 new icebreakers into the fleet


Deputy Commissioner, Mario Pelletier: Saying three ships are arriving at the same time in Quebec City is quite exceptional. It is, actually, the first time in twenty five years that we are going to introduce icebreakers into our fleet so it is very exciting and it’s going to bring a much needed capacity and they will compliment our fleet very well. We are going to have ships that will be able to supplement the current fleet in order to allow us to continue delivering our services while our other ships are going to vessel life extension or major refit. The condition of the ships is very good we sent a team of employees over to Sweden to inspect them before departure and they reported very good condition for a ship that is almost twenty years old.

The first vessel will be operational for next winter season, and the number two and three will follow after in 2019. They’re going to be able to deliver the suite of Coast Guard programs, search and rescue and so on, but are going their main – their core program is icebreaking so they’re going to be delivering their service in Atlantic Canada, in the Gulf, in the St. Lawrence River, and on the Great Lakes as well as we’ll use them in the Arctic as needed. This is exactly what we needed for now because we have an immediate requirement as ships are going under vessel life extension or major refit; we need to pull ships out of service so those ships will ensure that we can continue to deliver our mandate and ensure safe transit and Canadian water.

CCGS Captain Molly Kool

Captain Myrtle “Molly” Kool.

Captain Myrtle “Molly” Kool.

In December 2018, the first of the 3 icebreakers joined our fleet, the CCGS Captain Molly Kool. It’s named for Captain Myrtle ‘Molly’ Kool, who was a pioneer in Canada’s maritime history. She was the first woman in North America to become a master of a cargo steamship. This paved the way for future generations of women in her field.

The CCGS Captain Molly Kool’s home port is in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

CCGS Captain Molly Kool joins our fleet


Captain Catherine Lacombe: Hello, to CCGS Captain Molly Kool. Come check it out. The Captain Molly Kool is a former Vidar Viking that came from Sweden. It is currently undergoing repairs.

Captain Matthew Wheaton: The ice breaking season is starting now. You see the weather today: snow and ice. This vessel will be dispatched to the southern ice breaking program so it may operate anywhere from Montreal to St. John’s.

Captain Catherine Lacombe: When the flag changes from Swedish to Canadian, there are regulatory and security systems. It’s starting to come together. It looks very good. I’ve been part of the project since the beginning, as I was one of the people who went to Sweden and brought back the ships. It’s an exciting and dynamic project.

Captain Matthew Wheaton: We break ice. It keeps the shipping going. It keeps people employed. Search and rescue. Its very rewarding to know that we can help everyday people. So the ship is operated from this console. You need to call another ship, you call them here. You need to slow the ship, you do this. You need to steer the ship, you do this. It also has an ice knife so as we break ice, the weight of the ship rides up and the weight breaks the ice back down.

It’s 18, 000 horsepower. Like driving you minivan – you know the little “sport” button. It’s “economy” and “sport”. So when you break ice, you put it in “sport”. In a moment in time when we start, it actually gives you double that. 36, 000 horsepower so you can get the momentum of the ship going. Its like a kid with a new present at his birthday. We just want to tear it open and get using it.


CCGS Jean Goodwill

Ms. Jean Goodwill.

Ms. Jean Goodwill.

The CCGS Jean Goodwill is named for Jean Goodwill, an Officer of the Order of Canada. She was an Indigenous nurse, a founding member of the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada and a contemporary champion of public health services for Indigenous peoples.

The CCGS Jean Goodwill is expected to join the fleet in Spring 2020 following the completion of refit and conversion work.The vessel will be stationed in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

CCGS Vincent Massey

The Right Honourable Vincent Massey.

The Right Honourable Vincent Massey.

The CCGS Vincent Massey will be the third new Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker. The Right Honourable Vincent Massey was a lawyer and diplomat. He was the first Canadian appointed to the post of Governor General, and he served from 1952 to 1959.

The CCGS Vincent Massey’s home port will be in Québec City, Quebec. It will join the Coast Guard fleet upon its acceptance in summer 2020.

Vessel specifications

CCGS Captain Molly Kool infographic explaining that the vessel is longer than 6 school buses and taller than a 7 storey building. It has 19 crew, can operate continuously for up to 25 days, and breaks up to 1 metre of ice at a speed of 3 knots.

CCGS Captain Molly Kool infographic explaining that the vessel is longer than 6 school buses and taller than a 7 storey building. It has 19 crew, can operate continuously for up to 25 days, and breaks up to 1 metre of ice at a speed of 3 knots.

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