CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier

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CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier.jpg
CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier
Name: Sir Wilfrid Laurier
Namesake: Sir Wilfrid Laurier
Operator: Canadian Coast Guard
Port of registry: Ottawa, Ontario
Builder: Canadian Shipbuilding, Collingwood, Ontario
Yard number: 230
Launched: 6 December 1985
Commissioned: 15 November 1986
In service: 1986–present
Homeport: CCG Base Victoria (Pacific Region)
Status: in active service
General characteristics
Class and type: Martha L. Black-class light icebreaker
  • 3,812.1 GT
  • 1,533.6 NT
Displacement: 4,662 long tons (4,737 t) full load
Length: 83 m (272 ft 4 in)
Beam: 16.2 m (53 ft 2 in)
Draught: 5.8 m (19 ft 0 in)
Ice class: Arctic Class 2
Installed power: 3 × Alco 251F diesel-electric, producing 8,847 hp (6,597 kW)
Propulsion: 2 × GE electric motors (total 7,040 hp [5,250 kW]) turning 2 fixed-pitch propellers
Speed: 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h; 17.8 mph)
Range: 6,500 nautical miles (12,000 km; 7,500 mi) at 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph)
Endurance: 120 days
Complement: 27
Aircraft carried: 1 × light helicopter (e.g.: MBB Bo 105 or Bell 429 GlobalRanger)
Aviation facilities: Hangar and flight deck

CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier[a] is a Martha L. Black-class light icebreaker and major navaids tender of the Canadian Coast Guard.[1][2] Built in 1986 by Canadian Shipbuilding at Collingwood, Ontario, Canada, she was the last ship constructed there.[3] The ship has been based out of Victoria, British Columbia.

Description and design[edit]

Designed as a light icebreaker and buoy tender, Sir Wilfrid Laurier displaces 4,662 long tons (4,737 t) fully loaded with a 3,812.1 gross tonnage (GT) and a 1,533.6 net tonnage (NT). The ship is 83.0 metres (272 ft 4 in) long overall with a beam of 16.2 metres (53 ft 2 in) and a draught of 5.8 metres (19 ft 0 in).[1][4]

The vessel is propelled by two fixed-pitch propellers and bow thrusters powered by three Alco 251F diesel-electric engines creating 8,847 horsepower (6,597 kW) and three Canadian GE generators producing 6 megawatts of AC power driving two Canadian GE motors creating 7,040 horsepower (5,250 kW).[1][4] The ship is also equipped with one Caterpillar 3306 emergency generator. This gives the ship a maximum speed of 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h). Capable of carrying 1,096.0 long tons (1,113.6 t) of diesel fuel, Sir Wilfrid Laurier has a maximum range of 6,500 nautical miles (12,000 km) at a cruising speed of 11 knots (20 km/h) and can stay at sea for up to 120 days. The ship is certified as Arctic Class 2.[1]

The icebreaker is equipped with one Racal Decca Bridgemaster navigational radar operating on the I band. The vessel has a 980 m3 (35,000 cu ft) cargo hold. Sir Wilfrid Laurier is equipped with a flight deck and a hangar that can house two light helicopters of the MBB Bo 105 or Bell 206L types.[1] However, the vessel is only allotted one helicopter.[1][4] The ship has a complement of 27, with 10 officers and 17 crew. Sir Wilfrid Laurier has 26 additional berths.[1]


Sir Wilfrid Laurier's workboat/lifeboat No. 1 was re-purposed as a training boat/work boat that has been operated by the Maritime Affairs Committee Navy League of Canada – Outaouais Branch since 1995. The boat was named Fred Gordon, in honour of WO1 (ret'd) Fred Gordon, EM, CD former Regimental Sergeant-Major for Le Régiment de Hull (RCAC) 1967–1971. Fred Gordon was a member of the Hull Legion who supported the Royal Canadian Navy Sea Cadet Corps la Hulloise (CCMRC No. 230) sponsored by the Outaouais Branch of the Navy League of Canada.[5]

Operational history[edit]

The ship was constructed by Canadian Shipbuilding at their yard in Collingwood, Ontario with the yard number 230.[6] Named for a former prime minister of Canada, Sir Wilfrid Laurier was launched on 6 December 1985 and entered service on 15 November 1986.[4][6] The ship is registered in Ottawa, Ontario, and homeported at Victoria, British Columbia.[1][4] The ship was initially assigned to the Laurentian Region, but transferred to the Western Region.[7]

Sir Wilfrid Laurier is a multi-tasked vessel which carries out a wide variety of Coast Guard programs including buoy tending, search and rescue, science work, lightstation re-supply, beacon maintenance, radio repeater site maintenance, and icebreaking/escorting, aids to navigation and science work during summer patrols in the Arctic.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier in Cambridge Bay prior to departing to search for Franklin's lost expedition

The vessel has been employed on research voyages[8] and the rescue of survivors of the car ferry Queen of the North. In 2014 the ship was part of the search for John Franklin's ships, Erebus and Terror, during the Victoria Strait Expedition.[9] Erebus was found on that expedition.[10][11] In 2016, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, accompanied by the Royal Canadian Navy vessel Shawinigan, carried archaeologists to the site for further research. The two vessels also continued the search for Terror.[12]



  1. ^ CCGS stands for Canadian Coast Guard Ship


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier". Canadian Coast Guard. 4 February 2015. Archived from the original on 7 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Canadian Coast Guard Fleet Annual Report 2006-2007" (pdf). Fisheries and Oceans Canada. October 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Collingwood Shipbuilding, Collingwood ON". 18 February 2015. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e Saunders, p. 95
  5. ^ "Fred Gordon". Comité des Affaires Maritimes Ligue Navale du Canada (succ. de l'Outaouais). Archived from the original on 18 April 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Sir Wilfrid Laurier (8320456)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  7. ^ Maginley and Collin, p. 176
  8. ^ "2001–2002 Beaufort Sea Ice Stress Measurement Project". CRREL-USAC. Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  9. ^ Rennie, Steve (9 September 2014). "Franklin expedition ship found, PMO says". National Post. Canadian Press. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Lost Franklin expedition ship found in the Arctic". CBC News. 9 September 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  11. ^ "HMS Erebus ship's bell recovered from Franklin expedition". CBC News. 6 November 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  12. ^ Kylie, Aaron (23 August 2016). "Archaeologists to resume search for Sir John Franklin's HMS Terror". Canadian Geographic. Retrieved 25 August 2016.


  • Maginley, Charles D.; Collin, Bernard (2001). The Ships of Canada's Marine Services. St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing Limited. ISBN 978-1-55125-070-0.
  • Saunders, Stephen, ed. (2004). Jane's Fighting Ships 2004–2005. Alexandria, Virginia: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 978-0-7106-2623-3.