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Canadian Forces Procurement  –  CFAV Large Naval Tugs  –  August 2013

Future CF Harbour Tugs – The Naval Large Tug Construction Project


DND is at a very early stage of procurement for the construction of new large tugboats. The Naval Large Tug Construction Project is intended to replace the Navy's five civilian-crewed Glen class large tugs and the two Fire class rescue boats. In other words, future CFAV tugs will adopt the civilian practice of combining escort tugs with 'Fi-Fi 1' fire / rescue capabilities.

The Naval Large Tug Construction Project is at the point of  'Price and Availability' enquiries from industry. Aimed at Canada's smaller shipbuilders, the P&A is meant to elicit which tug designs they believe would meet DND's Statements of  Operational Requirements. The tugs can be ASD (Azimuth Stern Drive) or tractor types. [1] Key demands are for tugs with Fi-Fi 1 fire-fighting capability; 12 kt top speed; 33 m or less overall length; and less than a 6 m draft.

Note that the Naval Large Tug Construction Project is not part of  the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. Under Section 10 of  the NSPS Umbrella Agreement, ships displacing less than 1,000 tonnes must go to competition outside NSPS-contracted shipyards. That was meant to spread the Federal spending among the smaller yards. That sounds good but  DND wants all six  Naval Large Tugs to be built by a single yard. So much for spreading it around.

Smaller yards in Canada do build tugs. But the Naval  Large Tug Construction Project ignored a Canadian strength  –  the design of  tugboats. Several, existing Robert Allan designs match the Naval Large Tug  SORs. So why didn't DND just select one of these Canadian designs and ask the shipbuilding industry for quotes on construction costs? Then, considering the tugs will be based at Esquimalt and Halifax, why not divide their construction  (and later support ) contracts between West  and  East coast shipyards?




[1] There is no mention of the Voith Schneider cycloidal drive used on the current Glen class tugs but a vague "designs which meet the deck equipment configuration as described in the GSOR and TSOR" would seem to leave the door open for virtually any form of drive system.


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