Canada has opted for an existing ship design from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Canada for the replacement of the RCN’s two remaining Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment Ships that are nearing the end of their service lives.

ThyssenKrupp won out over a custom design by BMT Fleet Technology for the Joint Support Ship (JSS) following assessments conducted by several government organizations and third-party advisors, including KPMG and First Marine International.

The off-the-shelf design, based on the German Navy’s Berlin class fleet oilers, was deemed to be a less expensive option with fewer risks given its proven track record.

The JSS, part of the government’s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, “will supply deployed Naval Task Groups with fuel, ammunition, spare parts, food and water. They will also provide a home base for maintenance and operation of helicopters, a limited sealift capability, and support to operations ashore,” the Department of National Defence said in a press release.

The ships will also have the “the flexibility and the ability to carry containerized payloads such as disaster relief supplies or portable headquarters for operations.”

The JSS design is fully compliant with current and forecasted environmental standards for air emissions as well as double-hulled construction.

Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards will be reviewing the ThyssenKrupp design package and will begin the build once the government acquires the license for the ship design. The North Shore shipyard, which will also be responsible for JSS maintenance, is expected to source all equipment and major services from available suppliers, the government said.

“Vancouver Shipyards will be expected to demonstrate value to Canada including meeting its commitment to provide Industrial and Regional Benefits equal to 100 per cent of the value of the contract.” The contract will enhance the shipyard’s knowledge and technical capabilities, which is expected to have a positive impact on future work in the shipyard, according to the press release.