Sajjan: Ottawa to purchase a sixth Arctic and offshore patrol vessel

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says the federal government will purchase a sixth Arctic and offshore patrol vessel for the Royal Canadian Navy.

Sajjan says the vessel will be built at Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax.

The company is set to deliver the first of the vessels next summer and is in the process of building three more.

Sajjan made the announcement before hundreds of workers at the Halifax shipyard this morning, a day after Ottawa revealed plans to divvy up $7 billion in maintenance and repair contracts for Royal Canadian Navy frigates.

The contracts will be shared by Halifax's Irving Shipbuilding Inc., Seaspan Victoria Shipyards in Victoria, B.C., and Davie Shipbuilding in Levis, Que.

Workers in Halifax reacted with disappointment Thursday as they hoped to get more of the work to help bridge a gap between the end of the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships program and the start of the Canadian Surface Combatant program.

The federal government had originally planned on buying five of the Arctic and offshore patrol vessels, which will be tasked with patrolling Canadian waters including the Arctic.

Irving has said construction of the second and third vessels, to be known as HMCS Margaret Brooke and HMCS Max Bernays, is already well underway, and construction of a fourth is set to begin later this year.