The Government of Canada has committed to the investment of an additional C$2.5bn ($1.8bn) as part of an ongoing recapitalisation of the Canadian Coast Guard’s (CCG) small boat fleet, which will see the acquisition of dozens of vessels to augment its existing capabilities.

Announced the investment on 25 May, the Canadian Government stated that up to 61 additional small vessels will be provided to the CCG, primarily for use in the country’s shallow coastal waters and inland lakes and rivers where larger platforms cannot operate. In addition, the funding will also enable the replacement of ancillary marine platforms and equipment.

The funding is earmarked to assist the CCG with the acquisition of up to six mid-shore multi-mission vessels, one near-shore fishery research vessel, 16 specialty vessels, and 34 Cape-class lifeboats.

The commitment will be welcomed by Canada’s maritime shipbuilding industry, which, under the country’s existing National Shipbuilding Strategy, has delivered 16 small vessels including 14 search and rescue lifeboats and two channel survey and sounding vessels to the CCG since 2012.

Contracts under the National Shipbuilding Strategy are estimated to have contributed approximately C$21.26bn ($1.93bn annually) to Canada’s gross domestic product and created or maintained over 18,000 jobs annually between 2012 and 2022, according to the Canadian Government.

National Shipbuilding Strategy small vessels construction contracts awarded between 2012 and 2022 are estimated to contribute close to C$389.4m to Canada’s GDP, and create or maintain 293 jobs annually, through the marine industry and its Canadian suppliers, as well as consumer spending by associated employees.

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Although a civil maritime organisation, the CCG can be tasked to assist the Royal Canadian Navy on operations or training, with more than 100 vessels in its fleet. Among this are a number of medium and heavy icebreakers, displacing up to 5,000t, as well as the 11,000t icebreaker CCGS Louis St Laurent.