OTTAWA — While the Royal Canadian Navy is chomping at the bit to start using the newest vessel in its fleet, a senior officer says the MV Asterix has some key limitations — notably it can’t sail in harm’s way.
Commodore Craig Skjerpen, commander of the Atlantic Fleet, says the Asterix’s conversion from a civilian container ship to an interim resupply vessel is almost finished, as weapons and other sensitive equipment are being installed.
That work is expected to be finished in Halifax in March, at which point the vessel will undergo some final tests before heading to the Pacific to participate in a major, U.S.-led training exercise and then onward to the Asia-Pacific region.
Skjerpen says the Asterix addresses a critical shortcoming in the maritime force, which lost its previous resupply vessels in 2014, and that officials plan to make heavy use of the new ship.
But Skjerpen says the Asterix isn’t a true military vessel, which is why it won’t be able to operate in dangerous environments.
Two true military resupply vessels are scheduled to be built in Vancouver, but construction has been repeatedly delayed and isn’t slated to begin until at least 2022.
The Canadian Press