DND News

HMCS Max Bernays' Ship Sponsor announced

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has announced the selection of Ms. Shannon Bernays as the Ship’s Sponsor for the third Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS). The future HMCS Max Bernays was named after her grandfather. Chief Petty Officer Max Bernays was a Canadian naval hero who served as the Coxswain of HMCS Assiniboine during the Second World War’s Battle of the Atlantic.

In a press release, Defence Minister Anita Anand expressed “delight” selection of Ms. Shannon Bernays as Sponsor for the AOPS that will be named after her grandfather. “These modern and multifunctional ships will be at the core of an enhanced Arctic presence”.

HMCS Max Bernays
19 May 2022 – The future HMCS Max Bernays alongside the Irving Shipbuilding-Halifax Shipyard in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (DND Photo)

The future Max Bernays is being constructed at Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax, and is the third of six Harry DeWolf-class ships being delivered to the RCN as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. 

Each of the six AOPS being delivered to the RCN will be affiliated with different regions of the Inuit Nunangat. Additionally, each ship has been named in honour of a prominent Navy hero who served their country with the highest distinction. The other five ships are named Harry DeWolf, Margaret Brooke, William Hall, Frédérick Rolette, and Robert Hampton Gray.

The appointment of Ship’s Sponsor is a long and storied naval tradition. The Sponsor typically plays a key role in a ship’s naming ceremony, breaking a bottle of champagne across the ship’s bow. Many sponsors continue a relationship with their ship for many years. HMCS Max Bernays is expected to be launched at a naming ceremony on May 29, 2022.

The Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships enable the RCN to conduct armed presence and surveillance operations throughout Canada’s waters, including in the Arctic. They also are capable of offshore international missions providing humanitarian assistance, emergency response and disaster relief. AOPS will enhance the RCN’s ability to assert Canadian sovereignty in arctic and coastal Canadian waters, and support international operations as required.

“By naming this ship after [Ms Bernays' grandfather], Chief Petty Officer Max Bernays, we are recognizing the courage, dedication, and valour he demonstrated under fire," said Vice-Admiral Craig Baines, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy. “Ms. Shannon Bernays will help to provide these sailors with a link to their ship’s namesake, and in so doing, will also help us to celebrate the heroism of her grandfather.”

May 2022 – First of Class AOPS, HMCS Harry DeWolf, conducted a transit of Canada’s fabled Northwest Passage before carrying on to contribute to Operation Caribbe in the Caribbean Basin, all while completing a circumnavigation of North America on its first deployment. (DND Photo: Cpl David Veldman)

The AOPS were designed with a thick and robust hull that will enable them to operate in up to 120 cm of first-year sea ice. With its considerable space to efficiently transport cargo, the AOPS is also able to accommodate a Cyclone helicopter as well as small vehicles, deployable boats, and cargo containers.

The ship’s modern facilities include gender-inclusive washrooms, individual crew accommodations, and the flexible use of common spaces, such as briefing rooms, all-rank cafeterias, mess halls, and fitness rooms, to serve as a silent space for prayer or meditation required for various religious practices. These modern accommodations on board the ship significantly improve the comfort and quality of life for its crew, which underscores the Canadian Armed Forces' commitment to improved inclusivity and well-being for all personnel.