Canada’s fourth Harry DeWolf-class Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, HNCS William Hall entered into service with the Royal Canadian Navy on 16 May 2024, following a commissioning ceremony in Halifax that day. 

“Today is a very exciting day for my ship’s crew. They have spent many months preparing the ship and readying themselves for the challenges ahead. A commissioning ceremony is a symbolic moment, and a once in a lifetime opportunity for many sailors. I am extremely proud of the crew that has brought HMCS William Hall into the Royal Canadian Navy fleet,” said Commander Scott Kelemen, HMCS William Hall.

The William Hall is designed to operation ice up to 1m thick, with a hull strengthened for operations in the high North, protecting Canada’s territorial interests in the region and enforcing sovereignty in its waters. 

“The commissioning of a ship is a critical milestone, as it represents its official welcome into the Royal Canadian Navy and signifies that it is available for unrestricted service . . . Our fourth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel now stands ready to protect our Arctic waters and Canada’s maritime interests,” said Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy

Two more ships in the class are being procured, with the last expected to be delivered in 2025. In a recent Defence Policy Update, Our North, Strong and Free, a number of upgrades to the Harry DeWolf-class ships were announced, including specialised marine sensors, and it was decided to explore options for Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels to operate maritime helicopters at sea. 

The embarkment of maritime helicopters is expected to increase the Canadian Armed Forces capability to conduct surveillance, reconnaissance, and search and rescue missions, and protect against future maritime threats. 

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“As we outlined in Our North, Strong and Free, protecting Canadian sovereignty is job number one for the Canadian Armed Forces – and these patrol vessels are an important capability that allows our Navy to fulfil this mission. As the security challenges facing Canada evolve rapidly, we are steadfastly committed to investing in the defence of our Arctic and North,” said Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence.