Steel cut on future HMCS Max Bernays

Navy News / January 5, 2018

By Ryan Melanson

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and Irving Shipbuilding marked another important moment on the road to building Canada’s future naval fleet on December 19, 2017, when officials gathered at Irving’s Marine Fabricators facility in Dartmouth, N.S., to cut the first steel to be used in construction of the future HMCS Max Bernays.

Officials from Irving and senior RCN leaders were on hand, as well as Public Services and Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough.

The ship will be named after Chief Petty Officer Max Bernays, a Canadian naval hero from British Columbia known best for his time as cox’n of HMCS Assiniboine during the Battle of the Atlantic, for which he was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal by the British Admiralty.

CPO Bernays famously manned the helm by himself under heavy fire from German submarine U-210 in August of 1942, surrounded by smoke and flames. He ordered his junior sailors to safety and sent more than 100 telegraph orders to the engine room while executing all helm orders on his own, maneuvering the ship into position to ram and sink the enemy boat after a long and extremely hard-fought operation during which Assiniboine lost one sailor and 13 others were wounded.

Each Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel of the Harry DeWolf class is being named after individuals who exhibited outstanding leadership and heroic service during wartime, and CPO Bernays’ story is one that fits squarely within that criteria, making this an opportunity for the navy to name a ship after a non-commissioned member (NCM) for the first time.

To mark the occasion, a group of NCMs from various ranks and trades across Maritime Forces Atlantic, led by HMCS Harry DeWolf cox’n Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Gerry Doucet and Formation Chief CPO1 Pierre Auger, were also in attendance as the first steel was cut for the future HMCS Max Bernays.

The ship will be the third of the Harry DeWolf-class Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels being built for the RCN by Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax, with HMCS Harry DeWolf set to be delivered in 2018, followed soon after by HMCS Margaret Brooke, and then Max Bernays in late 2019.

Courtesy of Trident Newspaper