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For other uses, see Protector class.
HMCS Protecteur with tug.jpg
HMCS Protecteur (AOR 509)
Class overview
Name: Protecteur class
Builders: Saint John Shipbuilding
Operators:  Royal Canadian Navy
Preceded by: Provider
Succeeded by: Queenston class and MS Asterix (interim)
In commission: 30 August 1969 - September 2015
Planned: 2
Completed: 2
Active: 1
Retired: 1
General characteristics
Type: Replenishment oiler
  • 8,380 t (8,248 long tons) standard
  • 24,700 t (24,310 long tons) full load
Length: 171.9 m (564 ft 0 in)
Beam: 23.2 m (76 ft 1 in)
Draught: 10.1 m (33 ft 2 in)
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Range: 4,100 nmi (7,600 km; 4,700 mi) at 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Complement: 365 officers and crew (men and women) including 45 in air detachment
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Aircraft carried: 3 × CH-124 Sea King helicopters

The Protecteur-class auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) ships were used by the Royal Canadian Navy to resupply ships at sea with food, munitions, fuel and spare parts. They had more sophisticated medical and dental facilities than smaller warships. At 172 metres (564 ft) the ships were the largest operated by the RCN.

General characteristics[edit]

The Protecteur-class replenishment oilers were 171.9 m (564 ft 0 in) long, 23.2 m (76 ft 1 in) wide, and displaced up to a maximum of 24,700 tonnes (24,310 long tons) when fully loaded.[1] Powered by two Babcock and Wilcox boilers, feeding a single General Electric steam turbine engine, the ships reached a maximum speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph).[1] At 20 knots, the range of the Protecteur class was limited to 4,100 nautical miles (7,600 kilometres; 4,700 miles), but could be extended to 7,500 nmi (13,900 km; 8,600 mi) when only traveling at 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph).[1] The Protecteur class could safely navigate in as little as 10.1 m (33 ft 2 in) of water.[1]

Three hundred and sixty five men and women served in Protecteur-class oilers, including 27 officers, and 45 air detachment personnel who operated and supported three embarked CH-124 Sea King helicopters.[1][2] The crew was also responsible for loading and unloading the cargo of the Protecteur class, which included up to 14,590 t (14,360 long tons) of fuel, 400 t (394 long tons) of aviation fuel, 1,048 t (1,031 long tons) of dry cargo, and 1,250 t (1,230 long tons) of ammunition.

Two 20 mm Phalanx close-in weapon system points and six .50 calibre machine guns helped protect the cargo and crew of the Protecteur class if their BAE Systems Mark 36 SRBOC chaff launchers or AN/SLQ-25 Nixie towed decoy did not prevent enemy weaponry from endangering the ship.[1][3]

Ships in class[edit]

The Royal Canadian Navy listed the following two ships in the Protecteur class. Both ships were built by Saint John Shipbuilding.[4]

Ship Hull Number Laid down Launched Commissioned Status Home port
Protecteur[5][6] AOR 509 16 December 1966 18 July 1968 30 August 1969 Paid off 14 May 2015 CFB Esquimalt, British Columbia
Preserver[4] AOR 510 17 October 1967 30 July 1970 7 August 1970 Laid up as of 19 September 2014 CFB Halifax, Nova Scotia


Plans for replacing Protecteur and her sister ships were first introduced in 2004.[7] Lack of spare parts for the boilers and the fact that the Protecteur-class are monohull tankers have been the main driving points to replacing the class.[8][9] The ships will continue to operate until 2017,[10] however the Joint Support Ship Project will not be completed until two years later,[11] leaving a gap in the ability for the RCN to refuel and resupply her own ships while deployed.


On 19 September 2014, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman of the Royal Canadian Navy announced the retirement of both Protecteur and Preserver, along with the Iroquois-class destroyers HMCS Iroquois and HMCS Algonquin. General wear and tear notwithstanding, Protecteur was involved in a very serious engine room fire in February 2014 and more recently corrosion problems were found on Preserver. The Royal Canadian Navy is looking at other options to fill the gap until the arrival of the two Queenston-class auxiliary vessel in 2019 at the earliest,[12] The Navy is currently leasing replenishment vessels from other navies,[13][14] and is in the process of converting a civilian container ship to a replenishment vessel.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Ship's Characteristics". 2 June 2013. Archived from the original on 7 June 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Canadian Shipping and Marine Engineering. Vol. 43. Maclean-Hunter. 1971. p. 223. 
  3. ^ Jane's Defence Weekly. vol. 17. IHS Inc. 1992. 
  4. ^ a b Colton, Tim (12 August 2011). "Shipbuilding History: Saint John Shipbuilding". Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Wertheim, Eric (2007). The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World: Their Ships, Aircraft, and Systems (1st ed.). Naval Institute Press. p. 82. ISBN 9781591149552. 
  6. ^ The Insignia and Lineages of the Canadian Forces (PDF). Volume 2 , Part 1. Canadian Forces Heritage Publication. 8 January 2001. pp. 2–81–2–82. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "SeaWaves Today in History". Shirlaw News Group. 23 March 2009. ISSN 1710-6966. OCLC 77076813. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Brewster, Murray (25 August 2008). "Tories scuttle replacement plan for obsolete navy supply ships". The Guelph Mercury (Metroland Media Group). p. A6. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  9. ^ Curry, Bill; Clark, Campbell (6 August 2010). "Navy ships risk being banned from ports". The Globe and Mail. p. A7. Retrieved 30 November 2013 – via ProQuest. (subscription required (help)). 
  10. ^ Berthiaume, Lee (12 October 2013). "Schedule conflict to cost taxpayers $55 million". The Vancouver Sun (Postmedia Network). Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Arctic icebreaker delayed as Tories prioritize supply ships". CBC.ca. The Canadian Press. 11 October 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Navy sending four Cold War era ships into retirement". CTV News. 19 September 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  13. ^ Pugliese, David (11 July 2015). "Canada's Navy 'Rents' Chilean Resupply Ship". defensenews.com. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  14. ^ Pugliese, David (16 July 2015). "Spanish ship to handle east coast supply duties for Royal Canadian Navy". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  15. ^ Pugliese, David (15 October 2015). "Canada’s navy isn’t interested in a deal for second commercial fuel tanker to supply warships". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Protecteur class replenishment oilers at Wikimedia Commons

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