Canadian Coast Guard Ship Officially Named Sir John Franklin

CCGS Sir John Franklin
file photo of CCGS Sir John Franklin

Published Aug 29, 2019 9:01 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Canadian Coast Guard officially named the Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel CCGS Sir John Franklin during a dedication to service ceremony held on Thursday at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, British Columbia.

By tradition, a civilian is invited to sponsor a vessel for its well-being and continued service, and to wish the vessel  “good luck.” Dr. Verena Tunnicliffe was the sponsor for the new ship. Tunnicliffe is an accomplished marine scientist and was the first woman to lead a deep sea science expedition on Canada’s West Coast.


The home port for the CCGS Sir John Franklin will be the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, British Columbia. As well as being a platform for research, the vessel will support environmental response and search and rescue operations, when needed.

The vessel is the first of three Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels built under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. Each vessel will include four science labs: a wet lab, a dry lab, an ocean lab and a control lab. They will be 63.4 meters (208 feet) long, with a displacement of approximately 3,212 tons and a top speed of 13 knots. Each vessel will contain more than 10 kilometers of piping supporting over 20 systems and is composed of over 130,000 individual parts.

The Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels are the first class of ships to be built by Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards as part of the non-combat package under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The vessels will replace existing Coast Guard ships on the east and west coasts of Canada that provide a platform from which critical scientific research can be performed.

The Government of Canada recently announced up to 18 new ships for the Coast Guard. It also announced the construction of six new program icebreakers for the Coast Guard to replace its current aging fleet of icebreakers.

Naming of new Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels

In accordance with the Canadian Coast Guard’s ship naming policy, Offshore Fisheries Sciences Vessels are named after former scientists and explorers who made a significant contribution to the history of Canada.

OFSV#1: CCGS Sir John Franklin

Sir John Franklin (1786 –1847) was a British naval officer and explorer. He led multiple high-profile expeditions to Canada’s arctic, which ultimately led to the detailed mapping of previously uncharted northern coastlines.

OFSV#2: CCGS Capt. Jacques Cartier

Jacques Cartier (1491 – 1557) was a French navigator and explorer. In 1534, he was tasked with exploring the New World under the orders of King Francois I. Jacques Cartier is recognized as the first European to map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River. The CCGS Capt. Jacques Cartier is expected to be delivered to the Canadian Coast Guard in late 2019.

OFSV#3: CCGS John Cabot

John Cabot, born Giovanni Caboto (c. 1450 – unknown), was an Italian merchant and explorer. Under the direction of King Henry VII, Cabot was tasked with discovering trade routes to the West. Cabot is the earliest known European, since the Norse Vikings, to explore and make landfall on the Newfoundland and Labrador coast in 1497. The CCGS John Cabot is expected to join the Canadian Coast Guard fleet in summer 2020.