MV Asterix is now operating with HMCS Regina in Middle Eastern waters as part of a Canadian-led coalition task force.
The Asterix, a commercial ship converted by Davie shipyards in Quebec and leased to the federal government to perform a military supply role, has been going almost non-stop since it was launched. It has refueled both Canadian and allied warships.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said there is no need for a second such interim supply ship and the head of the Royal Canadian Navy, Vice Admiral Ron Lloyd, says he is happy with having the Asterix as the force’s only supply ship until 2023 when the first of two Joint Support Ships, to be built at Seaspan in Vancouver, is expected to be ready.
Davie, however, has offered to convert a second such ship, MV Obelix, to the same capabilities of Asterix and lease it to the government.
At one point the navy had three of its own supply ships supporting its vessels.
Information recently tabled in Parliament indicates that even though Asterix has been going full-tilt over the last year, there was still a requirement for Canadian warships to receive fuel and provisions from supply vessels operated by foreign navies or for Canadian ships to head to port to receive fuel and supplies.
Here are the details from Parliament:
The Asterix is also at the heart of federal government’s case against Vice Admiral Mark Norman. Norman has been accused by the RCMP of warning Davie that Liberal cabinet ministers wanted to derail the Asterix project.
That development leaked out to the news media and the resulting embarrassment was one of the factors that forced the Liberal government to back down on its plans and Asterix proceeded. Norman has denied any wrongdoing.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had twice predicted that Norman would eventually wind up in court, prompting concerns of political interference and concerns the Liberal government is punishing the officer.
Norman’s lawyers are in pre-trial trying to get documents they argue are needed so the officer can defend himself. Norman’s trial is scheduled for August.
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