Protecteur-class replenishment oiler

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HMCS Protecteur with tug.jpg
HMCS Protecteur alongside a tugboat
Class overview
Name: Protecteur class
Builders: Saint John Shipbuilding
Operators:  Royal Canadian Navy
Preceded by: Provider
Succeeded by: Protecteur class and MV Asterix (interim)
In commission: 30 August 1969 – 21 October 2016
Planned: 2
Completed: 2
Scrapped: 2
General characteristics
Type: Replenishment oiler
  • 8,380 t (8,248 long tons) standard
  • 24,700 t (24,310 long tons) full load
Length: 171.9 m (564 ft 0 in)
Beam: 23.2 m (76 ft 1 in)
Draught: 10.1 m (33 ft 2 in)
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Range: 4,100 nmi (7,600 km; 4,700 mi) at 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Complement: 365 officers and crew (men and women) including 45 in air detachment
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Aircraft carried: 3 × CH-124 Sea King helicopters

The Protecteur-class auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) ships were used by the Royal Canadian Navy to resupply ships at sea with food, munitions, fuel and spare parts. They had more sophisticated medical and dental facilities than smaller warships. At 172 metres (564 ft) the ships were the largest operated by the RCN. Entering service in 1969, the last vessel of the class was paid off in 2016.[1]

General characteristics[edit]

The Protecteur-class replenishment oilers were 171.9 m (564 ft 0 in) long, 23.2 m (76 ft 1 in) wide, and displaced up to a maximum of 24,700 tonnes (24,310 long tons) when fully loaded.[2] Powered by two Babcock & Wilcox boilers, feeding a single General Electric steam turbine engine, the ships reached a maximum speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph).[2] At 20 knots, the range of the Protecteur class was limited to 4,100 nautical miles (7,600 kilometres; 4,700 miles), but could be extended to 7,500 nmi (13,900 km; 8,600 mi) when only traveling at 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph).[2] The Protecteur class could safely navigate in as little as 10.1 m (33 ft 2 in) of water.[2]

Protecteur-class oilers carried a crew of three hundred and sixty five men and women, including 27 officers, and 45 air detachment personnel who operated and supported three embarked CH-124 Sea King helicopters.[2][3] The crew was also responsible for loading and unloading the cargo of the Protecteur class, which included up to 14,590 t (14,360 long tons) of fuel, 400 t (394 long tons) of aviation fuel, 1,048 t (1,031 long tons) of dry cargo, and 1,250 t (1,230 long tons) of ammunition.

Two 20 mm Phalanx close-in weapon system points and six .50 calibre machine guns helped protect the cargo and crew of the Protecteur class if their BAE Systems Mark 36 SRBOC chaff launchers or AN/SLQ-25 Nixie towed decoy did not prevent enemy weaponry from endangering the ship.[2][4]

Ships in class[edit]

The Royal Canadian Navy listed the following two ships in the Protecteur class. Both ships were built by Saint John Shipbuilding.[5]

Ship Hull Number Laid down Launched Commissioned Status Home port
Protecteur[6][7] AOR 509 16 December 1966 18 July 1968 30 August 1969 Paid off 14 May 2015 CFB Esquimalt, British Columbia
Preserver[5] AOR 510 17 October 1967 30 July 1970 7 August 1970 Paid off 21 October 2016 CFB Halifax, Nova Scotia

Retirement and future[edit]

On 19 September 2014, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman of the Royal Canadian Navy announced the retirement of both Protecteur and Preserver, along with the Iroquois-class destroyers HMCS Iroquois and HMCS Algonquin. General wear and tear notwithstanding, Protecteur was involved in a very serious engine room fire in February 2014 and more recently corrosion problems were found on Preserver. On 27 November 2015, Protecteur and Algonquin were sold to R.J. MacIsaac Ltd. of Antigonish, Nova Scotia for scrapping. They were towed to Liverpool, Nova Scotia[8] where the vessels will be broken up.[9] Preserver was paid off on 21 October 2016.[1]

Plans for replacing the class were first introduced in 2004.[10] Lack of spare parts for the boilers and the fact that the Protecteur class are monohull tankers were the main driving points to replacing the class.[11][12] The ships were intended to continue to operate until 2017,[13] however, the Joint Support Ship Project will not be completed until two years later,[14] leaving a gap in the ability for the RCN to refuel and resupply her own ships while deployed.

The Royal Canadian Navy looked at other options to fill the gap until the arrival of the two Protecteur-class auxiliary vessels in 2019 at the earliest,[15] The navy is currently leasing replenishment vessels from other navies,[16][17] and is in the process of converting a civilian container ship to a replenishment vessel.[18]


  1. ^ a b MacDonald, Michael (21 October 2016). "Last of Royal Canadian Navy's supply ships to be retired". CTV News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Ship's Characteristics". 2 June 2013. Archived from the original on 7 June 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  3. ^ Canadian Shipping and Marine Engineering. Vol. 43. Maclean-Hunter. 1971. p. 223.
  4. ^ Jane's Defence Weekly. vol. 17. IHS Inc. 1992.
  5. ^ a b Colton, Tim (12 August 2011). "Shipbuilding History: Saint John Shipbuilding". Archived from the original on 4 December 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  6. ^ Wertheim, Eric (2007). The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World: Their Ships, Aircraft, and Systems (1st ed.). Naval Institute Press. p. 82. ISBN 9781591149552.
  7. ^ The Insignia and Lineages of the Canadian Forces (PDF). Volume 2 , Part 1. Canadian Forces Heritage Publication. 8 January 2001. pp. 2–81–2–82. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  8. ^ Ward, Rachel (26 February 2016). "Former HMCS Protecteur towed from Esquimalt, will bring jobs to Liverpool". CBC News. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  9. ^ Dedyna, Katherine (14 January 2016). "Two CFB Esquimalt ships going on long journey to be demolished". Times Colonist. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  10. ^ "SeaWaves Today in History". Shirlaw News Group. 23 March 2009. ISSN 1710-6966. OCLC 77076813. Retrieved 8 December 2013. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ Brewster, Murray (25 August 2008). "Tories scuttle replacement plan for obsolete navy supply ships". The Guelph Mercury. Metroland Media Group. p. A6. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  12. ^ Curry, Bill; Clark, Campbell (6 August 2010). "Navy ships risk being banned from ports". The Globe and Mail. p. A7. ProQuest 738297676.
  13. ^ Berthiaume, Lee (12 October 2013). "Schedule conflict to cost taxpayers $55 million". The Vancouver Sun. Postmedia Network. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  14. ^ "Arctic icebreaker delayed as Tories prioritize supply ships". The Canadian Press. 11 October 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  15. ^ "Navy sending four Cold War era ships into retirement". CTV News. 19 September 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  16. ^ Pugliese, David (11 July 2015). "Canada's Navy 'Rents' Chilean Resupply Ship". Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  17. ^ Pugliese, David (16 July 2015). "Spanish ship to handle east coast supply duties for Royal Canadian Navy". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  18. ^ Pugliese, David (15 October 2015). "Canada's navy isn't interested in a deal for second commercial fuel tanker to supply warships". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 12 November 2015.

External links[edit]

Media related to Protecteur class replenishment oilers at Wikimedia Commons