Chile and Spain will provide resupply ships to the Royal Canadian Navy on a temporary basis as the Canadian government tries to fast-track the leasing and conversion of a commercial vessel that can provide fuel and provisions to its warships.
The Royal Canadian Navy’s senior leaders have been scrambling over the last six months to put in place such measures because of ongoing delays in the construction of its two new supply ships.
Those two vessels — called joint support ships — won’t be ready until 2021. In the meantime, the RCN took its two aging supply ships out of service, leaving it with no way of its own to provide fuel, ammunition and other supplies to its vessels at sea.
The Chilean Navy ship, Almirante Montt, arrived at the naval base here on July 3 and will be available for 40 sea days, RCN spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Desmond James said.
Negotiations are still underway with Spain for the provision of a supply ship to be used for the RCN’s Atlantic fleet.
The Royal Canadian Navy estimates it will need to rely on its allies and a leased commercial tanker for at least the next six years.
Defence Minister Jason Kenney announced June 23 that the government was entering into discussions with Chantier Davie Shipyard of Levis, Quebec, about the acquisition of what is being called an “interim” supply ship. Those talks would look at the whether the company can provide a commercial vessel that can be converted to provide refueling and other resupply functions for the Navy.