CCGS Amundsen

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CCGS Amundsen
The icebreaker and Arctic Ocean research vessel CCGS Amundsen.
Coastguard Flag of CanadaCanada
  • Sir John Franklin
  • Amundsen
Namesake: Roald Amundsen
Owner: Government of Canada
Operator: Canadian Coast Guard
Port of registry: Ottawa, Ontario
Builder: Burrard Dry Dock, North Vancouver
Yard number: 383347
Sponsored by: Lily Schreyer
Commissioned: 1979 (as CCGS Sir John Franklin)
Recommissioned: 2003
In service: 1979–present
Out of service: 2011–2012
Renamed: 2003 (as CCGS Amundsen)
Refit: 2003; 2011–2012
Homeport: CCG Base Quebec, QC (Quebec Region)
Identification: CGDT
Status: in active service
General characteristics
Class and type: T1200 Class Medium (Arctic) Icebreaker and Arctic research vessel
Displacement: 5,911 tonnes (6,515.76 short tons)
Tons burthen: 1,678 tonnes (1,849.68 short tons)
Length: 98.15 m (322.0 ft)
Beam: 19.5 m (64 ft)
Draught: 7.16 m (23.5 ft)
Ice class: 100 A or Arctic Class 3
Installed power: 10,142 kW (13,601 hp)
Propulsion: 2 × diesel-electric motors powered by 6 × Bombardier M251F-16v9
Speed: 14 knots (26 km/h)
Range: 15,000 nmi (28,000 km)
Endurance: 192 days
Boats & landing
craft carried:
  • 1 × Zodiac Hurricane RHIB
  • 1 × SP Barge
  • 2 × workboat/lifeboat
Complement: 38
Aircraft carried: 1 × MBB Bo 105 helicopter or equivalent

CCGS Amundsen is a T1200 Class Medium Arctic icebreaker and Arctic research vessel operated by the Canadian Coast Guard.[1][2]

CCGS Sir John Franklin[edit]

The vessel was built at Burrard Dry Dock, North Vancouver and commissioned into the Canadian Coast Guard as CCGS Sir John Franklin in 1979, in honour of Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin.

A 1200-class Arctic icebreaker, she worked out of CCG Base Dartmouth and CCG Base Quebec City for most of the 1980s and 1990s, being tasked to winter icebreaking operations in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and St. Lawrence River and off Newfoundland.

During the summer season, Sir John Franklin was often tasked to support the annual Arctic Summer Sealift operation for escorting cargo ships to remote port communities in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.


Following the 1995 transfer of the Canadian Coast Guard from the Department of Transport to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Sir John Franklin was deemed surplus to the fleet in 1996.

That summer, she was contracted to Newfoundland-based shipping company Canship for use as an accommodations vessel during exploration work at a coastal nickel deposit at Voisey's Bay in northern Labrador.

She was subsequently decommissioned from the CCG in 2000 and placed in non-operational reserve.

CCGS Amundsen[edit]

Amundsen in May, 2013, finishing refit at Port Weller, Ontario

Sir John Franklin was given new life in August 2003 after a consortium of Canadian universities and research centres, in partnership with the federal government, received funding for a dedicated Arctic Ocean research vessel.[1][2]

The Canada Foundation for Innovation funded the conversion of Sir John Franklin at a shipyard in Les Mechins, Quebec which saw part of the vessel's storage holds transformed into laboratory space.[1] The refit also included the addition of a moon pool, which enables scientists to lower scientific instruments from inside the hull without cutting a hole in the ice.

The vessel was recommissioned into the Canadian Coast Guard as Amundsen in honour of Arctic explorer Roald Amundsen.[1]

As part of the agreement with the educational and research institutions, the vessel is crewed by the Canadian Coast Guard which uses the ship in icebreaking service in the Gulf of St. Lawrence during the winter months, after which she is free for research assignments led by ArcticNet from May–December.

The vessel is on the back of the new Canadian 50 Dollar polymer banknote.[3][4][5]

In December 2011 a routine maintenance inspection discovered dangerous cracking in four of her six engines.[6] The engines required immediate replacement, and she was unavailable throughout 2012. Amundsen left on her most recent mission on 26 July 2013.[7]

The helicopter attached to Amundsen crashed in the Arctic on 9 September 2013, with a loss of three lives, including the commander, the helicopter pilot and an academic from the University of Manitoba.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d "The CCGS Amundsen – The Canadian Coast Guard's New Scientific Icebreaker". Department of Fisheries and Oceans. August 2003. Retrieved 2012-02-02. The CCGS Amundsen, a Canadian Coast Guard heavy icebreaker, has been reactivated and refitted for its new role as a dedicated platform for Arctic research initiatives. With $27.7 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and $3 million from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the Amundsen has been converted into a state-of-the-art science vessel and outfitted with the following capabilities, among others:  mirror
  2. ^ a b "CCGS Amundsen: Canadian Research Icebreaker". University of Laval. 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-02. The retrofit of the CCGS Sir John Franklin into the state-of-the-art research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen was made possible by the International Joint Ventures Fund of the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Coast Guard. Since its inauguration, the CCGS Amundsen has been a major catalyst in the revitalization of Canadian Arctic science by providing ArcticNet's Canadian researchers and their international collaborators with the platform and the tools to facilitate unprecedented access to the Arctic Ocean. 
  3. ^ Polymer – Bank of Canada
  4. ^ "Bank of Canada Unveils Polymer Bank Note Series: Celebrating Canada's Achievements at the Frontiers of Innovation" (PDF). Bank of Canada. 2011-06-20. Retrieved 2012-02-02. The $50 note, which will be issued in March of 2012, features images of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen in the North, reflecting Canada’s leading role in Arctic research. It also evokes the part that Canada’s northern frontier—with its vastness and splendour—has played in shaping our cultural identity.  mirror
  5. ^ "Canada's new polymer notes" (PDF). Bank of Canada. 2011-06-20. Retrieved 2012-02-02.  mirror
  6. ^ Margaret Munro (2012-01-28). "Scientists 'in shock' over loss of vessel". Star Phoenix. Retrieved 2012-02-02. 
  7. ^ Marie-Pier Duplessis (2013-07-27). "Avenir incertain pour le brise-glace Amundsen". Le Soleil. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  8. ^