Coast guard ship deal nears completion

An Irving Shipbuilding Inc. contract to build nine vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard is winding down, with the

seventh ship scheduled to be launched on Saturday. Preparations are underway at Irving-owned Halifax Shipyard to launch CCGS A. LeBlanc, a Hero-class vessel named after fisheries officer Agapit LeBlanc, of Bouctouche, N.B., who was killed in 1926 while investigating illegal fishing vessels. “There are several more weeks of work to complete on ship 7 before sea trials are conducted, which we expect to take place in February,” shipyard spokeswoman Deborah Page said in an email. “The ship will be delivered to the Canadian Coast Guard following successful sea trials.” The Hero-class midshore patrol vessels, which will ply the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, are larger and faster than those now in use, the coast guard has said. The vessels will be the main ships for the joint coast guard-RCMP marine security enforcement team on the Great Lakes and on the seaway.

On the East and West coasts, they will work with fisheries officers to enforce regulations and guidelines, patrol the coast and discourage smuggling. The other ships are named after two soldiers killed in Afghanistan, two First World War soldiers, two coast guard members and two RCMP members. The last two vessels are expected to be delivered to the coast guard sometine in 2014.