Navy adds MV Asterix to fleet
Ryan Melanson, Trident
Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) ship Motor Vessel (MV) Asterix formally joined Canadian Fleet Atlantic during a ceremony at HMC Dockyard in Halifax on March 6.
The former commercial container vessel was stripped down and converted to meet the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN’s) supply ship needs.
“I believe we are making naval history today,” said Lieutenant-Commander Jason Walsh, Commanding Officer, Naval Replenishment Unit (NRU) Asterix. His unit operates on board the ship alongside a civilian crew employed by Federal Fleet Services. “The arrival of the ship marks a new era of teamwork and cohesion between the RCN and the civilian mariners,” he added.
Ceremonial aspects of the day included the presentation of the ship’s bell and the breaking of the Canadian Forces Auxiliary Vessel Jack. Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class (CPO2) (Retired) Debbie Eisan, an elder with the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre in Halifax, provided smudging in the hangar at the onset of the event.
Much has been made of the amenities in Asterix compared to other warships, with dorm-room style accommodations, Wi-Fi throughout, private catering, and full gym facilities.
“On the operational front, Asterix has the best replenishment at sea equipment available anywhere in the world,” said Spencer Fraser, Federal Fleet Services CEO. “We briefed NATO on this several months ago, and there was wide recognition that Canada is now leading the pack.”
The ship is not equipped with weaponry, and will rely on the supporting forces for defence as it sails alongside them.
Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, RCN Commander, said the new AOR will sail with Canadian Fleet Atlantic ships in the coming months. As the summer nears, it will meet up with West Coast warships for a deployment to the 2018 Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC 2018) off the coast of Hawaii.
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