HMCS Preserver

A ship travelling on the water.

HMCS Preserver F94

There have been two vessels named Preserver in the Royal Canadian Navy.

HMCS Preserver (1st of name)  (F94) / Depot Ship

Preserver was built in 1941-42 at Sorel, Quebec and she arrived at Halifax on 4 August 1942, after escorting a Quebec-Sydney convoy en route. She was assigned to Newfoundland Force as a Fairmile base supply ship, arriving at St. John’s on 18 September 1942 but transferring almost immediately to Botwood, NL.

She returned to St. John’s in mid-December, staying until the end of July 1943 when she moved to Red Bay. Back at St. John’s in November, she returned to Red Bay in mid-June 1944 and at the beginning of September 1944 moved to Sydney. After a refit at Halifax in early 1945, Preserver returned once more to St. John’s but was transferred to Shelburne, Nova Scotia, in June. Paid off at Shelburne, she was sold to the Peruvian Navy in 1946 and renamed Mariscal Castilla, then Cabo Blanco. She was broken up in 1961.

Commissioned:  11 July 1942

Paid off: 6 November 1945

Displacement: 4,745 tonnes        

Dimensions: 268.4 m x 13.4 m x 5.4 m     

Speed: 10 knots

Crew: 107   Armament: one 4-inch, two 20-mm

A ship travelling on the water.

HMCS Preserver 510

HMCS Preserver (2nd of name)  (510) / Protecteur-class Operational Support Ship

Commissioned at Saint John, New Brunswick, Preserver served with distinction in the RCN. She carried Governor General Roland Michener on a visit to the Netherlands and Belgium in 1971. On this trip she hosted royalty twice: on 16 April 1971 Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, and on the 22nd, King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of Belgium. That June she carried out the first replenishment of a hydrofoil at sea, HMCS Bras d’Or. In 1974-75 Preserver served as supply ship for Canadian troops in Cyprus as part of a UN force. 

On 7 April 1993, she returned to Halifax from Somalia. Between 18 October and 23 November 1993 she served in Operation Forward Action (UN sanctions against Haiti). On 27 January 1994, Preserver joined the multinational force carrying out sanctions against the former Yugoslavia. She operated there again from May to June 1995.  She was one of the fleet units that took part in the Swiss Air disaster recovery operation off Nova Scotia in September 1998. She departed Halifax on 17 October 2001 with Charlottetown and Iroquois to support Operation Enduring Freedom, the US-led response to the destruction of the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001.

Over the next decade Preserver continued to serve as the east coast tanker, but with increasing mechanical challenges. She participated in TGEX 6/07 in November 2007, the largest fleet activity in recent years at the time, and was the coordinating unit for a major multinational sail-past of the Quebec Citadelle on 1 June 2008 for that city’s 400th anniversary. She had a major refit in 2010-11. She represented Canada at the War of 1812 Bicentennial celebration in Boston in July 2012 before deploying to the Caribbean in 2012 to participate in Operation CARIBBE and UNITAS 53-12. In 2013 Preserver’s major deployments included the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group work-ups and Exercise Joint Warrior 13-1.

Preserver’s last operational deployment was to the Caribbean, from 23 August to 24 October 2013, participating in Operation CARIBBE and UNITAS LANT 54-13. Preserver successfully captured a go-fast boat transporting narcotics in the region. In 2014, Preserver participated in TGEX 2-14 in the North Atlantic, operating with the Canadian Task Group and the German BERLIN-Class replenishment ship FGS Bonn. This exercise was the final operational time at sea for Preserver, and in September 2014 she entered Extended Readiness before being paid off in late 2016.

Builder: Saint John Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Saint John, NB

Laid down: 17 October 1967

Launched: 29 May 1969

Commissioned: 07 August 1969

Paid off: 21 October 2016

Displacement: 24,385 tonnes with full load

Dimensions: 169.2 m  x 23.2 m x 9.1 m

Speed: 20 knots

Crew: 227

Armament: two 3-inch

Badge of HMCS Preserver.

Badge of HMCS Preserver.

Motto: “Le Coeur de la Flotte” (The heart of the fleet) 

Battle honours


  • Arabian Sea
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