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Canadian Navy OPV HMCS Max Bernays crosses Panama Strait.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by the Canadian Department of National Defence on April 2, 2024, the Harry DeWolf-class offshore patrol vessel HMCS Max Bernays recently completed its transit through the Panama Canal, moving from the Caribbean to the Eastern Pacific.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Canadian Harry DeWolf-class offshore patrol vessel HMCS Max Bernays. (Picture source: Canadian DoD)

These OPVs are part of the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) project, which falls under Canada's National Shipbuilding Strategy. The initiative to build these ships was announced in 2007, with the aim to procure six to eight patrol ships capable of limited icebreaking (Polar Class 5), inspired by the Norwegian Svalbard class​.

Criticism of the Harry DeWolf class has centered on its design and effectiveness, with some arguing that the vessels are slow and underarmed compared to counterparts like the Russian Project 23550 patrol ships. However, others believe the ships' capabilities are adequate for their primarily constabulary mission, aligning with the naval and coast guard vessels of other Arctic nations​.

Technical data

HMCS Max Bernays displaces 6,615 tonnes and has a length of 103.6 meters. The vessel's beam is 19.0 meters, which facilitates the accommodation of various onboard equipment and operational facilities. With a draught of 5.7 meters, it is suited for a range of maritime environments.

Constructed to meet Polar Class 5 standards, the HMCS Max Bernays is equipped to navigate icy waters. Its propulsion system is powered by four MAN 6L32/44CR engines, with a total output of 14.4 MW, and a diesel-electric drive that operates two shafts. The vessel can reach a maximum speed of 17 knots in open water and is capable of moving at 3 knots in 1 meter of ice.

Its operational range extends to 6,800 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 14 knots. The vessel is equipped with two 8.5-meter multi-role rescue boats and a 12-meter landing craft. The crew is made up of 65 sailors.

For defense, the HMCS Max Bernays is armed with a BAE Mk 38 25 mm gun and two M2 Browning machine guns. It also has the capability to host aircraft, such as the Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone helicopter or CU-176 Gargoyle UAV, facilitated by its hangar and flight deck.

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