Third Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship receives lucky coin

Lucky coin for the future HMCS Max Bernays
Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Sylvain Jaquemot, Rear-Admiral Craig Baines, and Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Derek Kitching present the lucky coin prior to its placement in the structure of the future HMCS Max Bernays. Photo: DND/CAF

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Another important milestone for the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) project was reached on December 5, with the keel-laying of the future HMCS Max Bernays, the third Harry DeWolf-class ship.

As part of Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy, the Government of Canada is acquiring six AOPS to strengthen the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN’s) capabilities while equipping its women and men with highly versatile ships.

The keel-laying ceremony is a significant milestone in a ship’s construction and includes the placement of a newly minted coin on the ship’s keel. Ms. Vicki Berg, a welder at the Halifax Shipyard, placed the coin in the keel to mark the occasion. It will remain within the ship’s structure for its entire life and is a token of good luck.

The coin placed in the keel of the future HMCS Max Bernays is the fifth in the Royal Canadian Mint’s Second World War Battlefield series. It captures the intensity of the Battle of the Atlantic, a time at which Chief Petty Officer Bernays performed the actions that earned him honours and a celebrated place amongst Canadian Naval heroes. The coin selected conveys a real sense of the dangers faced by those who sailed the seas between 1939 and 1945 and is a tribute to all the Canadians who fought in the longest campaign of the Second World War.

The construction of the third AOPS is progressing well. The first two of three mega-blocks are expected to be moved to the exterior land level construction point of the Halifax shipyard in spring 2020.

“The keel-laying of the future HMCS Max Bernays is another notable milestone on the road towards Canada’s future fleet. The Harry DeWolf-class will enhance the Royal Canadian Navy’s ability to safeguard the interests and security of Canadians. It is fitting that an Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship has been named in the honour of Chief Petty Officer Max Bernays, a hero renowned for his valour and dauntless devotion to duty.”

— Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander of the RCN

Quick facts

  • Once complete, and turned over to the RCN, the future HMCS Max Bernays will be the first AOPS to join Maritime Forces Pacific.
  • The AOPS will be capable of navigating in sea ice up to one metre thick and will extend the Royal Canadian Navy’s ability to operate in the Arctic. This will enhance the Canadian Armed Forces’ situational awareness and contribute to maintaining Canadian sovereignty in the North.
  • The AOPS will also be capable of embarking a CH-148 Cyclone helicopter and will be used on a variety of missions at home and around the globe. AOPS will contribute to coastal surveillance, search and rescue, drug interdiction, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations and will be capable of integrating with a range of international partners.
  • The acquisition of six ships will greatly increase the capacity of the RCN to deploy its vessels simultaneously, at home or abroad, enabling the Navy to use its fleet more effectively.

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