The Canadian Press has reported that the federal Canadian government has approved an additional $45m for the Canadian Coast Guard this
year, in an effort tokeep many of its existing vessels ship shape. Reports said that the $45m covers just the annual shortfall in coast guard funding for core operations.
In 2005, the coast guard received $26 million in one-year interim funding to help bridge the annual gap. But the Department of Fisheries and Oceans had to cover any remaining deficit, the documents note.
The funding infusion will enable the coast guard to carry out a series of refits to vessels, such as deck replacement and upgrading on the Cygnus and a major engine overhaul on the Pearkes.
The Conservatives are also following through with plans previously announced by the Liberals to spend $276m on six new coast guard vessels.
There are also another four ships under construction for a joint coast guard-RCMP security enforcement program on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system
Hearn acknowledged that no decisions have been made on the second phase of the fleet replacement program, but he said the government will soon turn its attention towards the issue.
That next phase would include the replacement of ships such as lifeboats, marine service vessels, mid-shore and offshore patrol vessels
, hydrographic survey and science and research vessels.
Replacement of the icebreaking fleet won’t be considered until later — something that could change according to government priorities, according to the briefing notes.