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Canada's first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel meets water for the first time

Last Updated Sep 15, 2018 at 10:50 am PDT

The Arctic and Offshore Patrol vessel HMCS Harry DeWolf rests on the launch deck of the Boabarge 37 in Halifax's Bedford Basin Saturday, Sept.15, 2018 as it begins the process of being floated by the submerging support vessel. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ted Pritchard

HALIFAX – The ship that will become Canada’s first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel met water for the first time Saturday, the first of up to six vessels of its kind being built by Halifax’s Irving Shipbuilding.

The future HMCS Harry DeWolf was transitioned onto a submersible barge on Friday, and was towed to its launch site in the Bedford Basin on Saturday.

There, the barge will be submerged over the course of many hours, and the vessel will float off before being towed back to the shipyard, where work will continue ahead of its delivery to the Royal Canadian Navy in summer 2019.

Colin Darlington, a former Navy commander and the vice-president of the Royal United Services Institute of Nova Scotia, says the ship’s launch is significant because not only will it be the country’s first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel, it will also be the first large ship the Canadian Navy will receive in 20 years.

These vessels will be tasked with patrolling Canada’s waters, including the Arctic, and Darlington says they can also assist in disaster response and government and non-government research.

Irving says the vessel is the largest Royal Canadian Navy ship built in Canada in 50 years, at 103 metres long and 6,615 tonnes.