In St.John's CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell has "gone to the wall" and has been de-stored.
1. Sir Wilfred Grenfell in Halifax in 2004.
Built in 1985 in Marystown, NL, the ship started life as an offshore supplier built on spec and financed by the Province of Newfoundland (as it was then) to support the shipyard. In 1986 the Department of Transport (then responsible for the CCG) purchased the ship for $21 mn. It was then converted for offshore search and rescue. The work included upgrading to Ice Class I, firefighting, rescue and additional accommodation including a ten bed hospital and a helo pad, plus the required CCG communications equipment. The work necessitated adding a deck by raising the wheelhouse and extending the funnels, and cost another small fortune=$5mn. It was christened in November 1987, and registered February 8, 1988.
Despite this huge investment the ship has only had an actual service life of 25 years - certainly not long for a CCG ship. However with most ships multi-tasked now, dedicated search and rescue craft are expected to become further endangered.
Meanwhile on the St.Lawrence River the classic buoy tender Tracy has been laid up since April in Prescott, ON. Built as far back as 1968 by Port Weller Dry Docks it was extensively rebuilt as recently as 2010.
2. CCGS Tracy during a rare salt-water visit, following refit at Pictou in 1989. (In the background Richmond Odyssey under construction and Northern Ranger in reift.)
The ship was based in the St.Lawrence region, much of the time in fresh water, where thirty-five years is not a lengthy service record.
The third ship is of course CCGS Matthew, based at the Bedford Institute in Halifax. A dedicated hydrographic ship, it did not see service this summer. Built in 1990 it is nowhere near worn out, so its layup may be temporary. Surely charter work or other activities could have been found for this valuable asset.
3. Matthew still in layup at the Bedford Institute. The large davits carry survey launches when the ship is in service.
Although the CCG has announced new ships they are still many years off in the future, so one has to wonder how the the service will be able to carry out its mandate if the number of ships continues to decline.