Polar 8

Polar 8

The Polar 8 Project was a Canadian shipbuilding project based upon a class of 167-metre, 101,000-horsepower, diesel-electric powered high endurance icebreakers (polar class PC 1) intended for the Canadian Coast Guard. The project was developed as a means to assert Canada's sovereignty in the Arctic Ocean. It commenced in 1985 but was cancelled in 1990 while still in the final design stage. [ [http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=2db7c461-4252-44f4-8c7a-ceac2af1469d Polar 8 never made it from blueprint to Arctic ] ]

The Polar 8 Project was proposed to Parliament in 1985 by the new Progressive Conservative administration of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. It was Canada's direct response to the unauthorized transit through the Northwest Passage in summer 1985 by the USCGC "Polar Sea", a United States Coast Guard icebreaker.

The Polar 8 Project was originally designed to be nuclear-powered, however this was subsequently down-graded to a conventional diesel-electric power plant. The ship would be equipped with two transport helicopters, 2 LST (auxiliary landing vessels), 4 life rafts, and possibly 2 hovercraft.

Project cancellation

The massive 1989 federal budget cuts saw funding for the Polar 8 Project reduced and eventually it was cancelled in 1990, only two months before construction was scheduled to begin. The ships were to have been built at Versatile Pacific Shipyards in British Columbia at a cost of $700 million CAD each.

The CCG had delayed critical modernization upgrades that had been planned for its Gulf-class icebreaker, the CCGS "Louis S. St-Laurent" during the late 1980s while the Polar 8 Project was underway. Following the Polar 8 Project cancellation, CCG funded the modernization overhaul and hull extension of the "Louis S. St-Laurent" in order to maintain a strategic presence in the Arctic Ocean. CCG has also purchased a former commercial icebreaker, the CCGS "Terry Fox", during the late 1980s as a stop-gap measure.


;Arctic Patrol Ship ProjectThe federal government announced in 2007 that it would procure a fleet of 8 light icebreaker patrol ships for the Canadian Forces. The Arctic Patrol Ship Project is based on a Royal Norwegian Navy patrol boat design used in the Barents Sea with a polar class of PC 5; thus they will be significantly smaller and less capable than what was envisioned in the Polar 8 Project, which would have extended the already legendary capabilities of the Canadian Coast Guard's operations in the Arctic Ocean. Some media and political sources termed these new patrol vessels with their limited ice capability to be mere "slush breakers".

;Polar Class Icebreaker ProjectThe February 2008 federal budget announced a $720 million project to build a replacement for the CCGS "Louis S. St-Laurent" in FY 2017; an August 2008 announcement stated that the vessel's name was to be CCGS "John G. Diefenbaker". Many political and media sources incorrectly called this new vessel a "Polar Class Icebreaker", however this is a misnomer since all vessels classed by a classification society as being capable of operating in sea ice must have a polar class which can range from PC 1 through PC 7. Since the CCGS "Louis S. St-Laurent" is classed PC 1, it is quite likely that the CCGS "John G. Diefenbaker" will be similarly classed.

It should be noted that the original $700 million per vessel pricetag of an icebreaker from the Polar 8 Project in 1985, when adjusted for inflation to 2008, would be approximately $1.3 billion, therefore it is quite likely that the CCGS "John G. Diefenbaker" will be a much smaller vessel than the Polar 8 Project envisioned, albeit larger than the CCGS "Louis S. St-Laurent". [http://www.bankofcanada.ca/en/rates/inflation_calc.html]

ee also

* CCGS "Louis S. St-Laurent"
* CCGS "John G. Diefenbaker"
* CCGS "Terry Fox"
* MT "Manhattan"
* USCGC "Polar Sea"


* Polar 8 project technical drawings.
* [http://www.canada.com/globaltv/ontario/story.html?id=e49e29ee-3434-44c0-ba6b-00ef25297090&k=37964 Polar 8 background information]

External links

* [http://www.sfu.ca/casr/id-iqaluitport3.htm Arctic Sovereignty - Arctic Patrol Vessels]
*cite news
title=Canada Icebreaker deal
publisher=New York Times
date=March 3, 1987

*cite news
title=That Polar Ice-breaker
publisher=Northern Perspectives
author=T.C. Pullen
date=September-October 1986

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