February 18, 2021 – Today at Halifax Shipyard, Irving Shipbuilding Inc. officially laid the keel for the future HMCS William Hall, Hull Number 433 and Canada’s fourth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS).
The keel laying ceremony is a centuries old tradition that marks the formal start of a ship’s construction. Today’s ceremony included the tradition of the welding of a coin to the hull of the ship to bring luck to the captain and crew during the life of the ship. The coin, selected by the Royal Canadian Navy and presented by Rear Admiral Brian Santarpia, Commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT) and Joint Task Force Atlantic (JTFA), was welded in place by Macey Rolfe, a graduate of the Women Unlimited Program Shipbuilding Program and by Tyrell Young, a graduate of the 2020 Pathways to Shipbuilding for African Nova Scotians. Irving Shipbuilding President Kevin Mooney officially declared the hull “well and truly laid” at the conclusion of the ceremony on behalf of the 2,100 shipbuilders at Irving Shipbuilding.
Constructed in the most modern and largest indoor shipbuilding facility in North America, the ship is named after Petty Officer William Hall, the first Black person, first Nova Scotian and third Canadian to receive the British Empire’s highest award for bravery, the Victoria Cross. The son of former American slaves, Hall was born in 1827 in Horton, Nova Scotia. As a young man, he worked in shipyards in Hantsport, building wooden ships for the merchant marine. Hall enlisted in the Royal Navy as an able seaman in February 1852 and in 1857 was nominated for the Victoria Cross for his actions at the Relief of Lucknow. After his naval career, Hall returned to Nova Scotia to settle on the family farm near Hantsport.
The future HMCS William Hall will be 103.6 metres in length, have a 19 metre beam, displace 6,615 tonnes and be comprised of 440,000 parts. Canada’s second and third AOPS, the future HMCS Margaret Brooke and the future HMCS Max Bernays, are also under construction at Halifax Shipyard. The Margaret Brooke is in final preparations for upcoming Sea Trials and delivery to the Royal Canadian Navy this spring, while the Max Bernays has been moved to land level in advance of the scheduled launch in November. First steel on AOPS 5, the future HMCS Frédérick Rolette will be cut later this spring. The lead vessel in the class, HMCS Harry DeWolf, was delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy on July 31, 2020.
Halifax Shipyard will construct six Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships for the Royal Canadian Navy, two AOPS variants for the Canadian Coast Guard, followed by 15 Canadian Surface Combatants for the Navy.
To date Ships for Canada at the Halifax Shipyard has delivered over $3.6 billion in investments across Canada and is generating over 8300 jobs (direct and indirect). Halifax Shipyard is continuing to hire – over 160 positions since the new year began.