Posted on October 20, 2022
The Canadian Coast Guard has taken delivery of its third converted commercial icebreaker, the CCGS Vincent Massey.
Vincent Massey is the former offshore vessel Tor Viking / Tor Viking II, a 2,600 dwt icebreaking anchor handler built in Norway in 2000. After 18 years of commercial service, she was purchased by the Canadian government as an “interim” icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. She was converted and redelivered by Davie Shipyard.
Vincent Massey was originally designed to the DNV ICE 10 notation, but her hull and propulsion have been upgraded to meet PC 4, a common standard for medium icebreaking duty. She is rated for breaking three feet of ice continuously at three knots. Other refit work included increasing the crew accommodation capacity, adding a heavy lift crane, removing her towing winch, and increasing her endurance.
CCGS Vincent Massey and her two sister ships, CCGS Jean Goodwill and CCGS Captain Molly Kool, were purchased in 2018 to keep icebreaking services running in Atlantic Canada, the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes. Their entry into service allows the Canadian Coast Guard’s older icebreakers to rotate through a life-extension and maintenance program; though designated as “interim” icebreakers, the converted AHTS are expected to serve for the next 15-20 years.
The final acquisition cost for the three vessels came to about US$660 million, up from a planned US$445 million. Canada doubled down on this procurement model last year, buying a used light icebreaker out of the Caspian Sea offshore sector for US$33 million.
Tor Viking may be best remembered for a rescue she carried out off Cold Bay, Alaska in 2015. She responded to a sailing yacht in distress in 20-foot seas, and when she came alongside, the survivor jumped over the vessel’s rail head-first – with his cat tucked safely in his jacket.