Seaspan Developing Canada’s First Heavy Polar Icebreaker in 60 Years

A digital rendering of Seaspan’s in-development polar icebreaker. Image: Seaspan.

Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards is in the process of developing Canada’s first heavy polar icebreaker in more than six decades.

At Canada’s Global Defense & Security Trade Show on May 29, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company gave defense and security representatives an update on its progress.

Seaspan said more than 70% of the vessel’s functional design is complete, while the vessel’s 3D modeling is “well advanced,” paving the way for Seaspan to cut steel for the Canadian Coast Guard’s icebreaker vessel before the end of 2024.

The 158-meter-long IACS Polar Class 2 (PC2) Heavy Icebreaker is designed to accommodate up to 100 people and features more than 40 MWs of installed power, science labs, a moon pool to ensure safe equipment deployment within the vessel and helicopter flight deck and hangar, according to Seaspan.

Once completed, the new polar icebreaker is expected to not only break up ice but participate in various missions, including Arctic science missions, search and rescue, security, navigation, transportation and emergency response, Seaspan said.

Dave Hargreaves, Seaspan Shipyards’ senior vice president of strategy, business development and communications, said starting construction on the icebreaker is a monumental achievement for Seaspan, Canada and the country’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.

“By reinvesting in our shipyard’s capabilities and continuously driving improvements in efficiency and quality ship over ship, Seaspan has shown that we have the experience, skills and personnel to build one of the largest and most complex ships ever to be constructed in Canada,” Hargreaves said. “Our experience as the modern Coast Guard’s leading shipbuilding partner can now be leveraged by other Canadian shipyards to deliver Canada’s ships faster and smarter.”

By Karen Robes Meeks