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Canada receives third Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship Max Bernays

Canada's third AOPS HMCS Max Bernays
HMCS Max Bernays underway. Photo: Canadian defense ministry

The Royal Canadian Navy has taken delivery of the third Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS), HMCS Max Bernays, in a handover event in Halifax.

Built by Irving Shipbuilding of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Max Bernays is the third of six new AOPS being delivered to the RCN through the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), an initiative that supports Canadian industry and jobs.

The ship will remain at the Her Majesty’s Canadian Dockyard Halifax while post-acceptance work and final ship preparation work are completed. In 2023, the ship will be transferred to the West Coast, with CFB Esquimalt as its designated homeport.

Measuring 103 meters in length and displacing 6,615 tons, AOPS are the largest Royal Canadian Navy ships built in Canada in 50 years. They will patrol Canada’s oceans, including the Arctic, and are suited for missions abroad to support international partners, humanitarian aid, disaster relief, search and rescue, and drug interdiction.

With their considerable space to transport cargo and the capacity to embark a Cyclone helicopter, small vehicles, and deployable boats, the AOPS have the versatility to support a full range of CAF operations at home and contribute to global peace and security in coordination with our allies and partners.

“Today’s delivery of our third AOPS, HMCS Max Bernays, brings the Royal Canadian Navy one step closer to our full fleet of six modern, ice-capable ships. Each of the AOPS represents a new and important capability for the Navy, and we are excited that this ship will soon be officially welcomed into the RCN fleet,” Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, commented.

Crew of HMCS Max Bernays at the handover ceremony. Photo: Royal Canadian Navy

The AOPS are known as the Harry DeWolf-class, named in honor of Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf, a Canadian wartime naval hero. The lead ship, HMCS Harry DeWolf, was delivered to Canada on July 30, 2020, and was officially commissioned into RCN service on June 26, 2021.

The second AOPS, HMCS Margaret Brooke, was named in honor of the Royal Canadian Navy Nursing Sister Lieutenant-Commander Margaret Martha Brooke, who was decorated for gallantry during the Second World War.

The third AOPS, HMCS Max Bernays, was successfully launched into the water on October 23, 2021. A naming ceremony for the ship was conducted on May 29, 2022. The third AOPS was named in honor of Chief Petty Officer Max Bernays, a Canadian naval hero who served as the Coxswain of HMCS Assiniboine during the Second World War’s Battle of the Atlantic.

The names of the final three ships are William Hall, Frédérick Rolette, and Robert Hampton Gray.

The names of the six Harry DeWolf-class AOPS honor prominent Canadian naval figures who served Canada with the highest distinction. For the first time in its 110-year history, the RCN has named a class of ships after prominent Canadian naval figures, proudly honoring their leadership, achievements and heroism while serving Canadian interests at sea.

AOPS four, five and six are currently in various stages of production, with the planned delivery of one new ship every year until 2025.

Construction of the final AOPS began with steel cutting on August 15, 2022.