Seaspan Shipyards (Seaspan) and its more than 3,900 employees were proud to host a ceremonial keel laying event for the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) future HMCS Preserver October 27th in North Vancouver.

The keel laying is a significant milestone in a ship’s construction, during which a coin is placed near the keel, where it will remain for the duration of the ship’s life. The coin is said to bring good luck to the builders and all those who sail on the vessel. For today’s occasion, a commemorative coin from the Royal Canadian Mint was selected, designed by Esquimalt tribal artist Darlene Gait. The coins were placed in the vessel today by Tyler Robertson, a third-generation pipefitter and 2023 Seaspan apprenticeship graduate and Ordinary Cadet Curtis MacBain, a Sea Cadet from 354 RCSCC Invincible. Their joint participation in this milestone event represents the next generation and future of both Seaspan Shipyards and the Royal Canadian Navy.

Keel laying ceremony

“Today, Seaspan Shipyards has taken another critical step towards providing the Royal Canadian Navy with the ships they need to go into harm’s way and ensure Canada’s security and sovereignty in an increasingly unstable geopolitical environment,” said John McCarthy, CEO, Seaspan Shipyards. “Through investments in technology, process improvements, and skills upgrading, and by rigorously applying lessons learned from earlier ships we have built, Seaspan is on course to deliver ships faster and for lower cost to Canada.”

The future HMCS Preserver is the second of two replenishment ships being built by Seaspan as part of the NSS. Through incorporating lessons learned on the design and construction of ship one, the second is tracking ahead of schedule and efficiencies are seen throughout the build process – from advancements in design and supply chain streamlining, to pre-assembly outfitting in electrical cable installation.

The HMCS Preserver joins HMCS Protecteur as the longest naval ships built in Canada. HMCS Preserver is scheduled for delivery in 2027.

“Today’s keel laying ceremony marks the significant progress being made for the Royal Canadian Navy’s Protecteur-class,” said Rear-Admiral Steve Waddell, Deputy Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy. “Through Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy we continue to grow the naval fleet and bolster its capabilities. Bravo Zulu to those who have contributed to all of the work on this tremendous project.”

In addition to designing, building and delivering state-of-the-art ships, Seaspan is also delivering significant socio-economic benefits to Canada as a result of the NSS. Seaspan has helped to rebuild a marine industrial sector, creating thousands of jobs, leveraging a supply chain of more than 700 Canadian suppliers from coast-to-coast, and generating more than $5.7 billion in GDP contributions to Canada since 2011.

HMCS Preserver is the fifth ship to be designed and built by Seaspan under the NSS. In 2020, Seaspan completed delivery of CCGS John Cabot, the third and final Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel built for the Canadian Coast Guard and marked the first full class of vessel to be delivered under the NSS. Construction is also underway on the Canadian Coast Guard’s Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel, and progress is being made to prepare for the start of construction on Canada’s new heavy Polar Icebreaker, the first to be constructed in Canada in 60 years.


  • With a length of 173.7 meters, HMCS Preserver will join HMCS Protecteur as the longest naval ships ever to be built in Canada.
  • HMCS Protecteur and HMCS Preserver will replace the former Protecteur-class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessels. In addition to providing critical at-sea replenishment, these multi-purpose warships will also be capable of seamlessly integrating with any Canadian or allied naval task group, and will significantly extend the range and endurance of these groups through the provision of fuel, ammunition, aviation support, food, spare parts, exercise and gym facilities, and medical and dental care.
  • Seaspan is one of the most modern shipyards in North America, following its privately funded $185M shipyard modernization, development of a skilled workforce of 3,900 and state-of-the-art, purpose-built infrastructure to deliver the entire non-combat fleet.
  • In October 2021, Seaspan celebrated its 10th year as a strategic partner in the NSS: the milestone marked the rebirth of a sustainable, thriving shipbuilding industry of strategic importance to Canada that is delivering ships, economic growth and jobs. 
  • Seaspan has invested more than $24 million to support education, learning, research, and skills development in the marine industry, with a special focus on reducing barriers for underrepresented groups, bringing a broad range of new talent into the industry and the trades, including more women and Indigenous people, and creating opportunities for youth through internships and apprenticeships.

By Editor