Joint Support Ships to be renamed Protecteur and Preserver

September 12, 2017 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) is pleased to announce that the Joint Support Ships (JSS), its future Auxiliary, Oiler and Replenishment (AOR) vessels, will be known as Protecteur-class ships.

The renaming of the JSS to Protecteur and Preserver by the RCN recognizes the distinguished and remarkable service provided by its past Protecteur-class ships that have carried these names. The renaming perpetuates the Battle Honours awarded to the forbearers of these ships and allows the future ships to add their own Battle Honours to the Preserver and Protecteur legacy.

In October 2013, the Government of Canada announced that the JSS ships would be named the Queenston-class. Since that announcement, the original purpose-built AORs, the former Protecteur and Preserver, were paid off and are no longer part of the RCN’s fleet.

This fact presented the RCN, through its Ships Naming Committee, an opportunity to consider reusing the names of the original AORs, an option that was not available when the JSS were originally named in 2013.



“Remembering the Royal Canadian Navy’s history is a way we can honour those who served, and ensure we do not forget lessons of the past as we make decisions in the future. To many Canadians in the Navy community, the names Protecteur and Preserver evoke pride in Canada’s naval history, heritage and identity. I have no doubt that the future Protecteur and Preserver will continue to serve Canadians with distinction.”


Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan

“As we move forward with the future fleet of the Royal Canadian Navy, we will do so without forgetting where we come from and where we have been. Many sailors in the Royal Canadian navy, both serving and retired, have strong bonds to the former HMC Ships Protecteur and Preserver. This renaming serves as a tribute to the dedication and sacrifices of the generations of sailors who have served in the past ships of the Protecteur-class.”


Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander Royal Canadian Navy


Quick Facts


  • This will be the second time in Royal Canadian Navy history that the name Protecteur will be used, and the third time for Preserver.
  • Battle Honours are awarded to provide public recognition and record a unit’s active participation in battle against a formed and armed enemy. Preserver will perpetuate one Battle Honour: ARABIAN SEA, and Protecteur will perpetuate two Battle Honours: GULF AND KUWAIT and ARABIAN SEA.
  • The term “paying off” refers to the British age-of-sail practice of paying a crew their wages once a ship has completed its voyage. In the RCN, the tradition continues with the term paying off referring to the formal ceremony where the naval jack, ensign, and commissioning pennant are hauled down, the crew departs a ship for the last time, and the ship is then no longer referred to as Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS).


  • The Ships Naming Committee is formed prior to any vessel joining the RCN fleet, and consists of a small group of senior Royal Canadian Navy personnel, naval historians and veterans who present their recommendations to the Government of Canada.
  • The last ships to bear the name Protecteur and Preserver were brought into service in 1969 and 1970, then paid off in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
  • The Joint Support Ships will provide at-sea replenishment capabilities, limited sealift capacity, and support to operations ashore. They will be among some of the first of the Royal Canadian Navy’s ships to be built by one of the competitively selected Canadian shipyards, as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.


  • The previous intended names for the JSS were Queenston and Chateauguay, in recognition of the land battles of Queenston Heights and Chateauguay during the War of 1812.