Public Services and Procurement Canada has awarded a contract valued at around $5.7 million to Marine Recycling Corporation from Port Colborne, Ontario, for the disposal of the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) former guided-missile destroyer, HMCS Athabaskan.
The contract includes towing to the contractor’s facility located in Sydney, Nova Scotia, demilitarization of equipment, remediation of hazardous waste and recycling of any remaining materials.
“Our government is ensuring that these historically significant vessels are disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner, while creating jobs and bringing economic opportunities to communities across Canada”, said Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC).
“The former HMCS Athabaskan served Canadians and protected our waters with distinction for more than 44 years. I am grateful to all Royal Canadian Navy members and veterans who have served with honour and dignity aboard this ship throughout its long and storied history”, said Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.
HMCS Athabaskan is currently docked at Canadian Forces Base Halifax, and is the last of the four Iroquois-class destroyers to be decommissioned. These ships were a made-in-Canada solution to the defence and security challenges of the Cold War and post-Cold War era of the late 20th century.
The retirement of HMCS Athabaskan had been anticipated for some time. As part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), the process of renewing and modernizing fleets for the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard over the next 30 years has begun, with construction of vessels on Canada’s east and west coasts underway.
The Iroquois-class destroyers will be replaced by up to 15 Canadian Surface Combatants. The delivery of the first vessel is expected in the mid-2020s.
The modernized Halifax-class frigates, along with Kingston-class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels and Victoria-class submarines, will allow the Royal Canadian Navy to continue to deliver on its core mission until the arrival of the new ships.
The dismantling of HMCS Athabaskan is expected to be completed by July 2019.
HMCS Athabaskan (DDG 282)
HMCS Athabaskan was an Iroquois-class destroyer that served in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1972 until 2017.
Athabaskan was the third ship of her class which is sometimes referred to as the Tribal class or simply as the DDH 280 class. She is the third vessel to use the designation HMCS Athabaskan.
Athabaskan was laid down on 1 June 1969 at Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon and was launched on 27 November 1970. She was officially commissioned on 30 September 1972 and carries the hull classification symbol 282.
Athabaskan completed a refit known as the Tribal Class Update and Modernization Project (TRUMP) on 4 June 1994. At this time her classification changed from Destroyer Helicopter (DDH) to Destroyer Guided Missile (DDG). She was assigned to Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT) homeported at CFB Halifax.
Athabaskan served on MARLANT missions protecting Canada’s sovereignty in the Atlantic Ocean and enforcing Canadian laws in its territorial sea and Exclusive Economic Zone. She has also been deployed on missions throughout the Atlantic and to the Indian Ocean; specifically, the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea after Iraq occupied Kuwait.
The vessel conducted a final sail past of Halifax Harbour on 10 March 2017, upon which she was paid off and the ship’s company reassigned to other units.
Public Services and Procurement Canada