I have received several questions on social media, why is Asterix, MV and not HMCS or CNAV?
First, lets look at what these abbreviations mean.
MV stands for Motor Vessel and is a designation for any merchant ship owned by a civilian company with a motor/engine. Pretty simple. SS stands for Steam Ship and SV stands for Sail Vessel.
HMCS stands for Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship and applies to any Canadian warship, commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy and by extension, owned by the Queen.
A third designation is CNAV, Canadian Naval Auxiliary Vessel. These ships are owned by the navy, but are not commissioned and may be manned by RCN or civilian sailors.
Ships in the RCN with HMCS include the Halifax class frigates, Kingston class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels and Victoria class submarines. When built, the Harry DeWolf class Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels and Queenston class Joint Support Ships will be HMCS. When PROTECTEUR and PROVIDER were in service, they too had the HMCS designation, commissioned in the RCN with a RCN ships company’s.
CNAV vessels include the Orca class Patrol Craft Training Vessels, Glen class Fleet tugs and Ville class Harbour tugs. The Orca ships have RCN ships company’s and the tugs are manned by civilian crews.
So how does MV Asterix come by her designation?
Asterix is owned by Federal Fleet Services in Ottawa, it is a civilian ship and owned privately, hence the MV. She will be leased to the RCN for a period of ten years, operating with a mixed crew, civilian sailors will operate the ship while RCN personnel will be assigned to the ship for naval operations and the air detachment for the Cyclone or Chinook Helicopters will be RCAF personnel.
As a civilian ship, Asterix will not be armed. Provisions have been built into the ship to add defensive weapons, should the need arise.
There are provisions in the lease for the Canadian Government to purchase Asterix at the end of the lease. At that time her designation would change to HMCS if she is commissioned into the RCN or CNAV if she is not.
The Royal Canadian Navy has an excellent webpage on the Current and Future RCN Fleet.
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