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RCN announces names of Naval Large Tugs

Vice-Admiral Craig Baines, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, has announced the names of the Royal Canadian Navy’s new fleet of Naval Large Tugs, which are being built by Ocean Industries Inc. of Isle-aux-Coudres, Quebec, under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. Haro, Barkerville, Canso, and Stella Maris will provide important support to enable warship movements and provide fire protection for the RCN’s Pacific and Atlantic Fleets.

RCN new Naval Large Tugs
RCN's new naval tug (photo courtesy RCN public affairs).

“Today’s naming announcement marks another important milestone for the Royal Canadian Navy’s future fleet of Naval Large Tugs,” said Anita Anand, Canada's minister of National Defence. “Built under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, these tugs represent a significant investment into the future operational capability of our Navy, while also sustaining and creating up to 140 jobs in Canada’s marine industry.” 

Steel cutting for the first tug began in September 2020, with formal construction following in November 2020. The first two tugs (Haro and Barkerville) are expected to be launched in Isle-aux-Coudres, Quebec, in April 2022 and June 2022, respectively. They are scheduled to be delivered to the West Coast by sealift, to the RCN’s Maritime Forces Pacific in Esquimalt, British Columbia, in 2022.

When ready, Canso and Stella Maris will sail to Maritime Forces Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 2023 and 2024.

  • Naval Large Tug #1 Haro – This name is taken from the Haro Strait, which connects the Straits of Georgia and Juan de Fuca in British Columbia, and is frequently transited by Royal Canadian Navy vessels proceeding north from Esquimalt, the home of our Pacific Fleet.
  • Naval Large Tug #2 Barkerville – This name is taken from the Second World War-era Ville-class tug of the same name,which capsized and sank at the entrance of Bedwell Harbour, British Columbia, on 17 December 1945, while towing His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Hespeler to its mooring.
  • Naval Large Tug #3 Canso – This name is taken from the Canso Strait separating Nova Scotia from Cape Breton Island. This is a region that figures prominently in Canada’s formative history. It also reflects the Royal Canadian Navy’s past with HMCS Canso, a minesweeper that served in the Pacific and Atlantic during the Second World War, and was on hand at D-Day.
  • Naval Large Tug #4 Stella Maris – This name was selected in recognition of the valiant actions of the crew of the tug that came to the assistance of the French munitions ship, SS Mont-Blanc on 6 December 1917, in Halifax Harbour. The tug crew tried to fight a fire on board Mont-Blanc, and recognizing that they had insufficient water to quench the fire, selflessly attempted to tow the burning vessel away from shore. The tug was severely damaged and 19 personnel on board perished when Mont-Blanc then erupted in the disaster known as the Halifax Explosion.

RCN's new naval tug under construction (photo courtesy RCN public affairs).

“While the names of these tugs, Haro, Barkerville, Canso, and Stella Maris, provide important linkages to Canada’s rich maritime history, their role is very much tied to our future,” noted VAdm Baines. “Serving on both coasts, this new fleet of tugs will support the Royal Canadian Navy’s future fleet, including the two Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships we’ve already received, and the four more to come, two Joint Support Ships and 15 Canadian Surface Combatants. By supporting this future fleet, these new tugs will provide an important capability to help us to continue to meet Canada’s defence requirements over the decades to come.”

Filomena Tassi, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada, congratulated the Royal Canadian Navy on this important milestone. “Thanks to the National Shipbuilding Strategy, this future fleet will provide Royal Canadian members with safe, reliable ships to carry out their important work on behalf of Canada. Their construction is also contributing to the creation of jobs and strengthening Canada’s economy.”