The federal government followed through on a major budget promise on Thursday, announcing it will spend $324m to purchase six new vessels
for the Canadian Coast Guard
The vessels, which will be phased into the existing coast guard fleet between 2009 and 2014, will include four midshore patrol vessels and two offshore science vessels.
All six will be built in Canada, which should boost the country's shipbuilding industry, said Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn.
In addition to the six new vessels, Hearn said the coast guard will spend $17 million to buy a high-speed air cushion vehicle that will be used in search and rescue services in Quebec.
The government will also redeploy two of its icebreakers from the Maritimes to Newfoundland and Labrador over the next two years.
Including this latest $324-million announcement, the federal government has now spent $750m on the coast guard since February 2006, purchasing a total of 16 new vessels. Eleven are being bought to replace aging vessels, while five are entirely new.
The announcement comes two weeks after the Senate's security and defense committee issued a report that concluded Canada's coastlines are undermanned and vulnerable.
Canada's coast guard performs a variety of services including search and rescue, icebreaking, border security and assistance to commercial ships.
Source: CBC News