Interim AOR unveiled at ceremony in Quebec

Two Royal Canadian Navy members standing on a dock in front of a ship.
Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, (left), and Chief Petty Officer, 1st Class Michel Vigneault were on hand for the unveiling of the converted MV Asterix.

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By Ryan Melanson
CFB Halifax: The Trident

The Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) interim Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ship was unveiled to the public in its nearly-completed state during an open house at Davie Shipbuilding’s Quebec shipyard on July 21, 2017.

Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander RCN, was at the unveiling, along with a number of representatives from industry and the federal government. He said it was a privilege for both himself and RCN Chief Petty Officer, Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Michel Vigneault, to be some of the first people to see the converted container ship in its new, freshly painted state.

MV Asterix, as it will remain known during its service to the navy, has been dubbed the first Resolve-class naval support ship by Davie Shipbuilding. In a news release the shipbuilder said Asterix will provide “a wide range of functions from at-sea replenishment of fuels and cargo to aviation support, fleet medical support and humanitarian and disaster relief” to the RCN.

The ship is intended to fill the navy’s replenishment-at-sea capability gap as it awaits the construction and arrival of the Queenston-class Joint Support Ships. The federal government has agreed to lease the ship for a five-year period, with a crew of Canadian Armed Forces specialists serving alongside civilian mariners and a civilian master employed by Davie sister company Federal Fleet Services.

The ship is expected in Halifax this fall to begin trials, and is set to be in service supporting the Atlantic or Pacific fleet by early next year.

The unveiling event included the traditional breaking of a champagne bottle on the bow by the sponsor of the ship in order to bless the ship and its crew, which was performed by Pauline Théberge, spouse of J. Michel Doyon, the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec.

Davie Shipbuilding Chairman Alex Vicefield said the day was a celebration of what the company’s team of shipbuilders has achieved in a short time frame. Work on the conversion began in May of last year.

“The delivery of this ship will restore Canada’s ability to form a naval task group. What a great way to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary,” he said.

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