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Class 1300 Icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent

CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent is a Canadian Coast Guard "Gulf" class heavy icebreaker. Named after the twelfth Prime Minister of Canada, Louis St. Laurent, the vessel is classed a "Heavy Gulf Icebreaker" and is the largest icebreaker and ship in the Canadian Coast Guard's fleet. At 392.5 feet in length, 80 feet in beam, and over 15,000 tons (30 million pounds) deadweight, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent is the undisputed queen of the Canadian ice breaking fleet. Named after the twelfth Prime Minister of Canada, Louis S. St-Laurent is without question a world class icebreaker and polar scientific research vessel.

Canadian Vickers Ltd. laid the keel in 1967 and completed construction in Montreal, Quebec,of the vessel in 1969. Contracted for $55 million Canadian initially (roughly equivalent in 1967 U.S. $ ), the ship was completed at a cost of around $80 million Canadian. The CCGS LOUIS S ST. LAURENT was conceived and built in the 1960's and then essentially re-constructed in the 1990's. The requirement for the mid-life modernization of this 21-year-old icebreaker was not justified on the basis of defined levels of service. The Coast Guard did not follow its own vessel modernization and acquisition strategy in proceeding with this project, and did not adequately define the statement of work and the costs at the outset.

CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent underwent an extensive and costly modernization at Halifax Shipyard Ltd. in Halifax, Nova Scotia between 1988-1993 which saw her hull lengthened as well as new propulsion and navigation equipment installed. Over the five-year period preceding her mid-life modernization, the vessel's utilization averaged under 30 percent (calculated on the basis of 365 days per year). The low utilization was attributable to its time in maintenance and to management decisions to utilize the vessel for primary arctic missions, and in southern waters only in cases of urgency or unavailability of other Coast Guard icebreakers.

An unsolicited proposal to modernize the LSL was submitted by Halifax-Dartmouth Industries Limited (HDIL) in October 1986. In reviewing this proposal, the Coast Guard stated the ceiling price for the contract would reach $71.2 million, whereas the Coast Guard's planned cost was $51 million. The Department stated that the cost difference was in keeping with the estimated 20 percent savings that have accrued historically when competitive bidding has been used instead of a sole-source contract. The Coast Guard recommended that the Crown proceed with a competitive tendering process for the mid-life modernization of the LSL. However, in June 1987, Cabinet directed that the modernization of the LSL be sole-sourced to HDIL as the prime contractor, for socio-economic reasons.

A number of changes were made in the Statement of Requirements over that time period leading up to the decision to embark on the re-construction. The design decision making precesses were developed relevant to the social and economic factors, the technology levels and the regulatory regimens prevalent then and now. The reconstruction project comprised: removal of all asbestos containing materials; removal and replacement of the bow section complete with an air bubbler systems; replacement of the steam electric propulsion plant with a more efficient diesel electric power generation system; modernization of the heavy lift and aviation facilities.

Following the removal of asbestos and machinery extensive hull corrosion was uncovered leading to a structural survey. The findings of the survey led to structural modifications to the heeling tanks, replacement of tank tops, shell plate renewal and weld zone corrosion protection of the hull plating. This was not the Coast Guard's first indication of corrosion problems on the vessel. In 1984, an ultrasound survey of the steel showed varying degrees of corrosion, although not massive at the time. In 1987, prior to the modernization, a pre-mid-life condition survey was carried out but did not identify the extent of the problem. Arctic trials were conducted in September 1993.

The ship was costly to operate because of its large crew and the inefficiency of its propulsion system, which consumes far more fuel than other propulsion systems. Built originally with steam turbine propulsion, her 1989 midlife refit converted to a diesel electric system, her current means of propulsion. Five massive diesel engines drive the generators that provide electrical power for three shafts and propellers. What is particularly notable with the system in this regard is that there is complete flexibility and control of where the power is generated. The five diesels are not dedicated or otherwise limited to where they send their power. Any diesel can send power to any of the shafts. This gives the Captain tremendous flexibility with the 27,000 maximum horsepower and adds to the safety and smooth operation of the ship.

The modernization program was controversial as the government of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney had initially proposed building the "Polar 8" class of icebreakers for promoting Canadian sovereignty in territorial waters claimed by Canada; the USCGC Polar Sea had made an unauthorized transit of Canada's Northwest Passage in 1985 early in Mulroney's administration, provoking a strong nationalist out-cry across the country. However, budget cuts to proposed expansions of the coast guard and armed forces were scrapped in 1988. In compensation to the coast guard, the government opted to modernize the largest icebreaker in its fleet, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent.

The ship has three fixed-pitch propellers. Five diesel engines supply three propulsion motors that can deliver a total of 30,000 hp to the three shafts. The Louis S. St-Laurent uses an average of 15,000 hp; occasional boosts of power to 25,000 hp are required in heavier ice conditions. The ship carries two BO 105-BS4 helicopters for ice reconnaissance and science support.

She has been based at CCG Base Dartmouth in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia for her entire career. The vessel's current operation tempo consists of summer voyages to Canada's Arctic where she supports the annual Arctic sealift to various coastal communities and carries out multi-disciplinary scientific expeditions. During the winter months, CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent sometimes operates in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to aid ships in transiting to Montreal, Quebec, although she usually only serves this assignment during particularly heavy ice years. Over the years, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent has also steadily provided reliable escort and resupply service to isolated settlements and commercial operations in the arctic, and she will continue to do so.

The Canadian Coast Guard's most capable icebreaker, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2017. As such, the Government will replace this vessel with a new polar class icebreaker that has even greater icebreaking capabilities than the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent.

Length: 111.54 m / 362.5 feet
Breadth: 24.38 m
Draft: 9.91 m
Freeboard: 6.4 m
Hold 1: 300 m3 Hatch Size 1 (l x w): 3.5 m X 3 m
Hold 2: 36 m3 Hatch Size 2 (l x w): 3.5 m X 3 m
Main Deck Area: 320 m2
Boat Deck Area: 216 m2
Forcastle: N/A
After Deck Area: 120 m2
Gross Tonnage: 11345 grt
Net Tonnage: 3403 nrt
Cruising Speed: 16 kts
Max. Speed: 20 kts
Cruising Range: 23000 nm
Endurance: 205 days
Fuel Consumption: 24 m3/day
Fuel Capacity: 4800 m3
Fresh Water: 200 m3
Helicopter Accomodations
Flight Deck Area: 360 m2
Hangar Area: 132 m2
Hangar Gear: Yes
Fuel Capacity: 40 m3

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:35:02 ZULU