HMCS Preserver (AOR 510)

HMCS Preserver was a Protecteur-class auxiliary oiler replenishment of the Royal Canadian Navy commissioned in 1970. Built at Saint John, New Brunswick, the ship underwent a major refit in 2005, after she was plagued by electrical problems. With these difficulties unresolved, Preserver was withdrawn from sea-going service in 2014 and was paid off on 21 October 2016.[5][6]

HMCS Preserver during New York fleet week 2009
Name: Preserver
Ordered: early 1960s
Builder: Saint John Shipbuilding
Laid down: 17 October 1967
Launched: 29 May 1969
Commissioned: 7 August 1970[1][2]
Decommissioned: 21 October 2016
  • Le Coeur de la Flotte
  • ("The Heart of the Fleet")
Honours and
Arabian Sea [3]
Fate: Laid up
Badge: Azure a life preserver Argent cabled Or charged on the centre chief point with a maple leaf slipped Gules and within the ring a starburst also Argent.[2]
General characteristics
Class and type: Protecteur-class replenishment oiler
Displacement: 24,550 t (24,162 long tons) full load
Length: 172 m (564 ft 4 in)
Beam: 23 m (75 ft 6 in)
Draught: 10 m (32 ft 10 in)
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Complement: 290 officers and crew (men and women) including air detachment when embarked
Aircraft carried: 3 × CH-124 Sea King helicopters[4]
Aviation facilities: aft deck hangar and flight deck

Service history

Preserver, the second Protecteur-class auxiliary replenishment oiler, was built by Saint John Shipbuilding at Saint John, New Brunswick. Commissioned at Saint John in 1970, she was assigned to the east coast fleet. She was the second ship to bear the name Preserver. Commissioned 11 July 1942, the first HMCS Preserver served in the Second World War as a Fairmile motor launch base supply ship under the East Coast's 'Newfoundland Force' and was paid off 6 November 1945.

In 1971 she carried the Governor-General of Canada, Roland Michener to Europe, hosting the heads of state of Belgium and Netherlands. In June of that year, the ship took part in the first-ever refueling of a hydrofoil at sea, replenishing HMCS Bras d'Or. As part of Canada's contribution to the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus, Preserver supported Canadian troops through 1974–75.[7] The ship served Canada's fleet in domestic and international exercises in the 1980s and 1990s. In December 1992, she took part in Operation Deliverance, the ill-fated Canadian Forces operation that turned into the Somalia Affair. In 1994, Preserver was part of the multinational force enforcing sanctions on the former Yugoslavia. The vessel returned to that force in May–June 1995. In September 1998, she was part of the Canadian naval response to the crash of Swissair Flight 111 off the coast of Nova Scotia. The ship sailed for Afghanistan in October 2001, as part of Operation Apollo, Canada's initial response to the Global War on Terrorism. She returned from that duty in April 2002.[7]

Preserver underwent a major refit in 2005, after the ship was plagued by electrical problems. However, electrical problems remained unresolved for both ships in the class.[8] In 2010 while refueling she spilled several cubic metres of fuel in Halifax harbour.[9] The spill, which comprised 14,000 litres (3,100 imp gal; 3,700 US gal) of diesel oil, was caused by a faulty drainage pipe that had not been properly inspected following a 2010 refit. The spill was contained by the navy before causing damage to the harbour itself.[10] On 4 November 2011, after returning from sea trials, the ship smashed into a dock in Halifax harbour, suffering damage above the waterline on the starboard bow.[11] The commanding officer of the ship was later removed from his post as a result of the crash.[12] The cost of the repairs to the damage sustained during the incident was $497,442.[13]


On 19 September 2014, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman of the Royal Canadian Navy announced the retirement of Preserver, along with sister ship Protecteur and the Iroquois-class destroyers Iroquois and Algonquin. In addition to the problems with the electrical system, corrosion problems extending beyond general wear and tear were found on Preserver. The Royal Canadian Navy is looking at other options to fill the supply gap until the arrival of the two Queenston-class auxiliary vessel in 2019 at the earliest.[14] MS Asterix, a container ship being converted by Davie Shipbuilding to an auxiliary replenishment vessel and may become available to the Royal Canadian Navy sometime in 2017.

No longer able to sail at sea, Preserver provided fuelling service for the Atlantic Fleet at Halifax.[15] The ship was paid off on 21 October 2016 at Halifax.[5][6] The ship was put up for sale in March 2017.[16] The vessel was sold to Marine Recycling Corporation of Port Colborne, Ontario for scrap along with CFAV Quest for a total of $12.6 million.[17] Preserver arrived at Sydport Industrial Park in Nova Scotia on 2 August for dismantling.[18]


  • Air
  • Combat
  • Combat System Engineering
  • Deck
  • Dental
  • Executive
  • Cargo Management
  • Logistics
  • Marine System Engineering
  • Medical
  • 651 Fire Fighters

See also


  1. Archived February 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Volume 2, Part 1: Extant Commissioned Ships – HMCS Preserver". National Defence and the Canadian Forces. 7 July 2006. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  3. "South-West Asia Theatre Honours". Prime Minister of Canada. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  4. Archived February 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. Pugliese, David (6 September 2016). "HMCS Preserver to be paid off in ceremony Oct. 21". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  6. MacDonald, Michael (21 October 2016). "Last of Royal Canadian Navy's supply ships to be retired". CTV News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  7. Macpherson, Ken; Barrie, Ron (2002). The Ships of Canada's Naval Forces, 1910–2002 (3 ed.). St. Catharines: Vanwell Publishing Limited. p. 280. ISBN 1551250721.
  8. "HMCS Protecteur's electrical system flagged as 'dangerous and unsafe'". CBC News. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  9. "Ship leaked fuel into N.S. for hours due to "procedural errors"". CBC News. 22 September 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  10. Tutton, Michael (13 January 2012). "Report: Ship repair not inspected". The Chronicle Herald. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  11. "HMCS Preserver smashes into dock". The Chronicle Herald. 5 November 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  12. "Preserver commander relieved of duties after crash". The Chronicle Herald. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  13. "HMCS Preserver Crash leaves $500K Repair Bill". The Huffington Post Canada. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  14. "Navy sending four Cold War era ships into retirement". CTV News. 19 September 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  15. Pugliese, David (24 April 2015). "Paying off ceremonies to be held for two destroyers, one replenishment ship – fourth ship to be paid off at a later date". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  16. Pugliese, David (20 March 2017). "Contractor wanted to dismantle former HMCS Preserver, CFAV Quest". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  17. Pugliese, David (16 June 2017). "Ontario company wins contract to dispose of former HMCS Preserver and CFAV Quest". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  18. Pugliese, David (3 August 2017). "Former HMCS Preserver now at industrial park in Nova Scotia where it will be dismantled". National Post. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
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