Royal Canadian Navy announces names of the four Naval Large Tugs

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The Royal Canadian Navy on Thursday announced the names of the four Large Naval Tugs, which are being built under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The first two tugs, named Haro and Barkerville, are scheduled to be delivered by sealift to the RCN’s Maritime Forces Pacific in Esquimalt, British Columbia, in 2022, the Department of National Defence said in a statement.

The other two (Canso and Stella Maris) will sail to Maritime Forces Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 2023 and 2024.

Vice-Admiral Craig Baines, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, said “I am pleased today to announce the names of the Royal Canadian Navy’s new fleet of Naval Large Tugs. While the names of these tugs, Haro, Barkerville, Canso, and Stella Maris, provide important linkages to Canada’s rich maritime history, their role is very much tied to our future.”

“Serving on both coasts, this new fleet of tugs will support the Royal Canadian Navy’s future fleet, including the two Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships we’ve already received and the four more to come, two Joint Support Ships and 15 Canadian Surface Combatants,” he said, adding that by supporting this future fleet, these new tugs will provide an important capability to help us to continue to meet Canada’s defence requirements over the decades to come.

The name, Haro, for the Naval Large Tug #1, is taken from the Haro Strait, which connects the Straits of Georgia and Juan de Fuca in British Columbia, and is frequently transited by Royal Canadian Navy vessels proceeding north from Esquimalt, the home of our Pacific Fleet, according to the Department of National Defence.

The Naval Large Tug #2 is named Barkerville, the same name which was used for the Second World War-era Ville-class tug, which capsized and sank at the entrance of Bedwell Harbour, British Columbia, on December 17, 1945, while towing His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Hespeler to its mooring.

The Naval Large Tug #3 has been name Canso, which is taken from the Canso Strait separating Nova Scotia from Cape Breton Island. This is a region that figures prominently in Canada’s formative history. It also reflects the Royal Canadian Navy’s past with HMCS Canso, a minesweeper that served in the Pacific and Atlantic during the Second World War, and was on hand at D-Day.

Stella Maris was selected for the Naval Large Tug #4, in recognition of the valiant actions of the crew of the tug that came to the assistance of the French munitions ship, SS Mont-Blanc on December 6, 1917, in Halifax Harbour. The tug crew tried to fight a fire on board Mont-Blanc, and recognizing that they had insufficient water to quench the fire, selflessly attempted to tow the burning vessel away from shore. The tug was severely damaged and 19 personnel on board perished when Mont-Blanc then erupted in the disaster known as the Halifax Explosion.

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