VESSEL REFIT | Judy LaMarsh – Former Caspian Sea tug joins Canadian Coast Guard icebreaking fleet

Photo: Cameron

The Canadian Coast Guard has expanded its fleet of icebreakers with the recent acquisition of a vessel originally built for towage duties in the Caspian Sea off Kazakhstan.

The 2010-built icebreaking tug formerly known as Mangystau-2 officially entered Canadian service as CCGS Judy LaMarsh earlier this year. The new name was chosen to honour the late Julia Verlyn “Judy” LaMarsh, a former lawyer and author who was also one of the first women to serve as a Canadian federal Cabinet Minister.

Judy LaMarsh is the fourth interim icebreaker purchased by the Canadian Coast Guard, following the prior purchase of three medium interim icebreakers. These vessels were acquired to supplement the existing fleet during vessel life extension and repair periods.

Photo: Milland

The coast guard acquired the vessel from Canadian company Atlantic Towing, which had earlier acquired it from Kazakh operator Caspian Offshore Construction in 2021. Design and conversion work was undertaken at the coast guard’s Prescott Base in Ontario to ensure compliance to Canadian flag regulations, though the vessel’s hull retains its durability exceeding ice class 1A Super requirements.

The vessel has an LOA of 66.3 metres, a beam of 16.4 metres, a maximum draught of three metres, a gross tonnage of 1,828, and space for 12 crewmembers and 10 additional personnel. A diesel-electric propulsion system consisting of four Caterpillar 3512C 1,790kW generators drives three Schottel SRP 2020 1,565kW azimuthing thrusters to deliver a bollard pull of over 50 tonnes and a speed of 12 knots. An icebreaking speed of eight knots can be achieved when breaking through surface ice of up to 35 centimetres in thickness, though the vessel can also operate even in 50 centimetres of level ice.

The vessel is also fitted with two 550kW pumpjet bow thrusters to provide additional lateral manoeuvrability.

In addition to icebreaking, Judy LaMarsh’s duties will include search and rescue, general emergency response operations, and maintenance of navigational buoys in the Great Lakes, St Lawrence, and Atlantic regions. For buoy tender work, the vessel’s older crane was replaced with a new one with a 12.5-tonne lifting capacity.

Photo: stanley

The vessel can also support scientific research missions in the Great Lakes. Specifically, any one of its multi-purpose compartments can be outfitted as a laboratory.

CCGS Judy LaMarsh
Type of vessel: Icebreaker
Classification: Ice class 1A Super
Flag: Canada
Owner: Canadian Coast Guard
Length overall: 66.3 metres
Beam: 16.4 metres
Draught: 3.0 metres
Gross tonnage: 1,828
Propulsion: 3 x Schottel SRP 2020, each 1,565 kW
Generators: 4 x Caterpillar 3512C, each 1,790 kW
Side thrusters: 2 x 550 kW
Maximum speed: 12 knots
Bollard pull: 50 tonnes
Type of fuel: Diesel
Crew: 12
Passengers: 10

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