Canadian Coast Guard’s Newest Icebreaker, CCGS Captain Molly Kool, Joins The Fleet

The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG)’s newest medium icebreaker, CCGS Captain Molly Kool, has joined the fleet on Dec. 14, the service announced.

The name of the new vessel was announced earlier in the day. The namesake of the icebreaker, Captain Myrtle ‘Molly’ Kool, was the first woman in North America to become a master mariner. Myrtle Kool, known by everyone as Molly, was born in 1916 in Alma, New Brunswick. In 1937, she was the first woman in North America to become a licensed ship captain, and in 1939, was awarded her coastal master’s certificate.

In August this year, the Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has awarded a $610-million contract to Chantier Davie for the acquisition of three icebreakers for the Canadian Coast Guard following an Advance Contract Award Notice that was issued on June 22.

The contract was for the acquisition of three existing Anchor Handling Tug Supply (AHTS) vessels with icebreaking capabilities, converted to Coast Guard specifications. The conversion was conducted to ensure that the vessels complied with Canadian regulatory and Coast Guard operational standards before entering the fleet.

The three candidate ships selected for the conversion were Tor Viking, Balder Viking and Vidar Viking operated by Norwegian supply shipping company, Viking Supply Ships AB.

Viking Supply Ships AHTS vessels
Three Ex- Viking Supply Ships Anchor Handling Tug Supply (AHTS) vessels – Balder Viking, Vidar Viking and Tor Viking – that are being converted as Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) Polar Icebreakers.

Chantier Davie refloated the first icebreaker, ex-Vidar Viking, out of its Champlain Drydock on Nov. 13, and this vessel is now been given the formal name of CCGS Captain Molly Kool. This was the first floating of a Coast Guard icebreaker in twenty-five years.

Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker - Ex-Vidar Viking
Ex-Vidar Viking refloated out after conversion by Chantier Davie to Canadian Coast Guard specifications. CCG Photo.

CCGS Captain Molly Kool measures 93.7 metres in length, and has a beam of 18 metres. It is classified as a medium icebreaker, and can maintain a speed of 3 knots through ice up to 1 metre thick.

The vessel has a total of 18,278 horsepower, and is equipped with twin propellers and twin rudders behind, providing the vessel with a high degree of manoeuvrability. It has a cruising speed of 12 knots and a maximum speed of 16 knots.

CGS Captain Molly Kool can operate continuously without refueling for approximately 25 days, and has a crew of 19. Her home port will be in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

The new icebreaker is part of the national Coast Guard fleet which carries out icebreaking duties in Atlantic Canada, the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes, and Arctic regions. In addition to icebreaking, the ship will support other Coast Guard programs, such as Search and Rescue and Environmental Response.

The icebreaker will allow the Coast Guard to provide essential services during the upcoming winter season, while the other two undergo refit projects. The second and third vessels will further complement the fleet upon their acceptance in fall 2019 and summer 2020, respectively.

Icebreakers are crucial to Coast Guard services, the safety of mariners, protection of coastal waters, and efficient transport of people and goods through Canada’s waterways.

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