Canada’s naval prowess may soon be undermined by its aging oil tanker supply ships, compromising its maritime ability to act independently around the world, a report released yesterday in Ottawa warns. According to the leaked document, the 40-year-old ships could be barred from both European and American ports by 2015 due to their outdated, single-hull design, which violates standards adopted to prevent major oil spills.
Without being able to send out supply ships, Canada will not be able maintain an independent navy, says Ken Bowering, a retired navy commander: “The support ships, the tankers, provide that ability to stay at sea for extended periods with fuel, with spare parts, food, ammunition.”
Canadian naval capabilities have come under growing scrutiny in recent years as the naval forces of Russia and northern European shipping fleets have increased their Arctic presence in anticipation of global warming. In July, prior to the public release of yesterday’s report, the Conservative government in Canada announced in that it will spend $2.6 billion to replace the navy’s two auxiliary oil replenishment vessels.