Canada’s Resolve-Class Naval Support Ship, MV Asterix arrived back in Canada, on Dec. 17, for the first time following a year-long deployment throughout the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Since delivery from Davie Shipbuilding in January 2018, the ship has maintained 100% utilization without a single day of downtime, something which is virtually unheard of in naval ship operations.
During 2018, Asterix has travelled 51,062 nautical miles, performed 138 supply operations with 9 allied navies and delivered over 20 million litres of fuel at sea. She has taken part in five international naval exercises and operated naval patrols in South East Asia and on the Korean Peninsula.
On arrival in Victoria, Captain Bernard Wentzell reflected on the past year, “this ship has been a dream come true for those serving in her and also for our NATO and Indo-Pacific allies. She is comfortable, technologically superior and highly efficient.”
Wentzell added, “when you deliver a service which exceeds your client’s expectations you feel a sense of pride but when you deliver a service which is directly contributing to a safer and better world, you feel a real sense of purpose. The professionalism of both the Federal Fleet Services team aboard and ashore and that of the Royal Canadian Navy was evident in how quickly and efficiently the teams rose to the challenge this year. After nearly an entire year of operations, free of incident, I can firmly say that we, together, are one of the world’s best naval support teams. Asterix has been a fantastic showcase of the best in Canadian military equipment and at every port visit, Asterix has become the envy of our host nation. This is what a Canadian success story looks like.”
Alex Vicefield, Chairman of Federal Fleet Services stated, “Asterix has proven itself as an essential asset for Canada’s international presence and its strategic pivot to the Indo-Pacific but that has left the fleet at home, both on the East and West coasts without the means to sustain operations or form a task group. The government’s policy, Strong Secured and Engaged, as well as the Royal Canadian Navy’s doctrine, Leadmark 2050, and two unanimous reports from Canada’s Parliament in 2017 confirm the need for a second Resolve-Class Naval Support ship. Given the multi-year delay in the schedule for the Joint Support Ships, the need for Obelix has never been so clear.”
Vicefield added, “back in 2014 when we first proposed the Resolve-Class Naval Support Ship, some people said that Canada didn’t need a naval support ship. Some said Davie couldn’t do it. Some said our plan wouldn’t work. Some even said the Joint Support Ships would be delivered in 2019 so it wasn’t necessary. Well, 138 missions later and with the Joint Support Ships nowhere to be seen, I am sure that all Canadians are happy that no one listened to them.”
Spencer Fraser, CEO of Federal Fleet Services said, “for the ship to operate non-stop without any issues is testament to both Davie, the builder, and the Federal Fleet Services crew on board and ashore. The success of this project is more than simply proving a design. It has actually set a new standard for both naval support ship design and the way Canada can operate its naval auxiliary ships by taking advantage of the best commercial practices.”
Asterix is expected to remain in Victoria (BC) until February 2019 when she will begin her next deployment.
About MV Asterix / Resolve-class AOR:
MV Asterix is a supply ship leased by Federal Fleet Services to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) as part of Project Resolve. The vessel completed her at-sea-replenishment trials and entered full operational service with the Royal Canadian Navy in January this year.
Built in Germany, the former commercial container ship (formerly named MS Asterix, MS Amorito, MS Neermoor and MS Cynthia) was purchased by Federal Fleet Services and converted to a naval support ship at the Davie Shipyard in Quebec. Both Federal Fleet Services and Chantier Davie Canada are part of the Inocea Group of Companies.
The vessel was leased by the Navy to act as an interim replacement between the out of service Protecteur-class replenishment oilers – HMCS Protecteur (AOR 509) and HMCS Preserver (AOR 510) – and the future Protecteur-class replenishment ships. A crew provided by Federal Fleet Services operates the ship but RCN personnel will be on board to handle maritime operations such as refueling warships at sea.
The ship features double-hull design with bulbous bow. It is 182.5m-long, 25.2m-wide and 9.5m-high and has a full load displacement of 26,000t.
The Resolve-class ship is capable of supplying ammunition, fuel, food, water, power and spare parts to the Canadian naval forces at sea. It can also be used for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions.
Asterix is used for at sea fuel replenishing for both liquid and solids using NATO-standardised methods and two cranes for loading and unloading purposes. The ship is able to deliver 400 tons of fresh water per day and carry 7,000 tons of fuel oil and 980 tons of JP5 Jet fuel.
The port and starboard sides of the boat carry four rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIB), two fast-rescue craft and two lifeboats to perform transportation and rescue missions at sea. The ship can also carry two landing craft, vehicle and personnel (LCVP) craft for humanitarian missions, as well as for transportation of personnel, vehicles and stores.
The ship is equipped with a large flight deck and two hangars capable of embarking two CH-148 Cyclone helicopters. It can accommodate 150 crew members and up to 350 other personnel.