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NOV 30, 2020


Lévis, Québec, Canada – November 30, 2020:
Davie, Canada’s premier builder of Polar and ice-capable ships, today welcomed Vard and Serco as partners in its Polar Icebreaker program, which is the flagship of Davie’s National Icebreaker Centre (NIC).

Launched last August, the NIC is a growing centre of excellence for Polar and Arctic expertise. It reflects Davie’s history as Canada’s icebreaking partner and its present and future role in rejuvenating the entire ice-capable fleet, under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). This will create thousands of good jobs, drive domestic economic growth and future exports of Canadian innovation.

Canada’s current Polar Icebreakers have far exceeded their life expectancy. CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent has served Canada with distinction, but is deep into its sixth decade. CCGS Terry Fox is fast approaching 40 years in service. Once replaced by cutting-edge Polars, Canada will be able to maintain a continuous Arctic presence. This will benefit generations of Canadians, including the northern communities, enabling ice-choked trade, supporting Arctic sovereignty and protecting the Polar environment.

Vard is a world-renowned icebreaker designer having developed designs for Canadian, American and Chilean government customers among others. Vard’s best-in-class design for the Polar Icebreaker will support a multitude of Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) missions. When delivered, Canada’s Polar will be the world’s most powerful integrated electric propulsion icebreaker with a strong focus on safety, efficiency and crew comfort. It will also have world-class scientific research capabilities to study the health of the Arctic ecosystem and assess climate change impacts. Vard will provide specialist design, engineering, and program support to Davie.

Serco is globally recognized for its full lifecycle approach to maritime assets. It has a proven track record of delivering large, complex projects spanning naval, coast guard, research and civilian ships. Serco also has extensive icebreaker experience, including lead contractor status for Australia’s flagship research and supply ship. For the Polar program, Serco will provide Davie with its unrivalled engineering, project management and production support.

Davie is Canada’s only mega-yard, with 50% of shipbuilding capacity. It expects to begin full production of its NSS Program Icebreaker project by 2025. Its abundance of available capacity means Davie’s world-class workforce, strategic partners and over 1,300 suppliers across Canada, can start work on the Polar immediately, and deliver ahead of the government’s schedule. It will also facilitate a learning curve and economies of scale to greatly benefit both icebreaker programs by mitigating cost, schedule and performance risks.

Moreover, Davie will guarantee Polar is built in Canada by Canadians generating up to 2,500 well-paid jobs and contributing up to $2.5bn to the economy[1]. Davie will continue to build on its successes in delivering high-value, cost-effective solutions to Canada. This includes the first fully converted icebreaker CCGS Jean Goodwill which, along with the delivery of CCGS Captain Molly Kool, represents Canada’s biggest addition of icebreaking capacity in a generation. Also, Davie delivered the first ice-class Combat Support Ship, m/v Asterix, whose immense value for money for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) was recently recognized by the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO).

In addition to Vard and Serco, Davie will announce new partners to provide propulsion, steel and other critical systems for the Polar program.

[1] Davie Shipbuilding Economic and Social Contribution Study. © 2020 Deloitte LLP and affiliated entities


James Davies, President & CEO, Davie Shipbuilding

“We are consolidating skills, capabilities and entire programs at Canada’s National Icebreaker Centre. Together, we can begin work on the Polar today to ensure this game-changing ship is protecting Canada’s Arctic interests without delay. Building Polar at Davie will support both the domestic marine industry and future exports. We will ensure Polar is built in Canada by thousands of Canadians to the highest standards. Made in Canada has never meant more, as we seek to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Bruce Samuelsen, President of Serco Canada Marine and Chief Growth Officer Serco Inc.

“Drawing upon four decades of experience in integrated, complex ship design, and the knowledge gained from leading the design and build of the Australian Polar Class icebreaker, the 25,000 tonne RSV Nuyina, Serco looks forward to underpinning program success as a core member of Davie’s Polar Team. The partnership with Davie provides Serco Canada Marine with an opportunity to continue expanding in-country design capability while working to deliver critical icebreaking capability to the Canadian Coast Guard.”

Wade Carson, CEO, Vard Marine Inc.

“Icebreakers are in our DNA.  Vard Marine was formed in 1983 to pursue the Canadian Polar 8 Project and commercial ice capable vessels for Canada’s Beaufort Sea fleet.

While the Polar 8 Project was eventually cancelled, we built on our Beaufort experience to develop our internationally recognized expertise in ice class ship design. Thirty years later, we won the bid for the design of the renewed Canadian program, now known as the Polar Icebreaker.  We remain committed to the program and we look forward to delivering a leading-edge, Canadian developed capability for the Government of Canada.”

Quick facts: Why Polar Can Only be Built at Davie




Based in Lévis, Québec, Davie is Canada’s premier shipbuilder and a global leader in the delivery of specialist, mission-critical vessels to government and commercial customers. Founded in 1825, Davie is Canada’s longest established, largest and highest capacity shipbuilder. Our world-class workforce builds and sustains complex ships that enable our customers to protect national and economic security, or fulfill acute business needs. Find out more at


Serco Canada Marine is a leader in naval architecture, specifically engineering for the design, construction and maintenance of marine vessels and structures, notably surface ships and submarines. The company has decades of experience in managing large-scale procurement and production programs for military and civilian vessels, advanced logistics, and sustainment support projects. Serco’s team has supported the development of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Joint Support Ship (JSS), the Halifax Class Patrol Frigates, the first fully electric green ferries in Ontario, and the Canadian Coast Guard’s Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels, among other high-profile vessels. Serco Canada employs more than 1,200 people across the country. Its global parent company, Serco Group PLC has more than 50,000 employees, and operates internationally across four geographies: UK & Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.


Established in 1983, Vard Marine Inc. is a Canadian naval architecture and marine engineering company and part of the global Fincantieri Group. With over 130 employees and three Canadian offices, Vard is a world-leader in icebreaker design and engineering, having delivered designs for over 50 ice classed and ice capable ships. Vard’s clients include shipbuilders, ship owners, ship operators as well as military and civil government organizations. Vard has delivered programs for the governments of Chile, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Africa as well as Canada and the US for whom Vard has also designed their most recent icebreakers operating in the Arctic and Great Lakes respectively.

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