The Canadian Coast Guard has officially welcomed the medium icebreaker CCGS Captain Molly Kool to its fleet, the new vessel of this type in 25 years.

CCGS Captain Molly Kool was welcomed during a ceremony at the Canadian Coast Guard Atlantic Region Headquarters in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

The vessel is named after captain Molly Kool, the first woman in North America to be certified Master of a Cargo Steamship in the Home Trade.

The government awarded a C$610m ($451.69m) contract in August last year to shipbuilder Chantier Davie for the procurement of three interim icebreakers.

These vessels are intended to supplement the Coast Guard’s existing fleet during vessel life-extension and repair periods.

It will ensure continuous on-water capability during scheduled maintenance periods.

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The new vessel will be used for icebreaking services to allow for safe navigation, prevent ice jams and flooding, and maintain shipping routes.

Canada Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said: “Captain Molly Kool was a pioneer who stepped outside the status quo and beyond the societal definitions of her gender.

“I am proud that the Canadian Coast Guard has named the first icebreaker to join our fleet in 25 years after Captain Kool; our first icebreaker to bear the name of a female ship captain. Canadians can be proud of our Coast Guard, and their vital role in keeping us safe and protecting the marine environment.”

"It is our first icebreaker to bear the name of a female ship captain."

The CCGS Captain Molly Kool was accepted into the Coast Guard fleet in December last year. It is designed to maintain a speed of 3k through ice up to 1m thick and has operational endurance of around 25 days.

The Coast Guard is scheduled to accept the second and third icebreakers into service in late-2019 and mid-2020 respectively.

Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled plans to build up to 18 new Coast Guard ships at an estimated cost of C$15.7bn ($11.62bn) to renew the national fleet.