09/18/2014 07:01 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 01:00 EDT

First new Arctic offshore patrol ship to be named HMCS Harry DeWolf

HAMILTON - The first of the Arctic offshore patrol ships to be built in Halifax will be named after a Nova Scotia native who was one of Canada's most distinguished sailors during the Second World War.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday that the navy vessel will be named after Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf, whose lengthy naval career included command of HMCS St. Laurent and HMCS Haida from 1939 until 1944.

DeWolf earned a number of accolades for his service, including an appointment as a commander of the Order of the British Empire and as an officer of the U.S. Legion of Merit.

Harper made the announcement on board HMCS Haida, which is now a floating museum docked along Hamilton's waterfront.

The Arctic offshore patrol ships are to be built by the Irving Shipyard in Halifax as part of the federal shipbuilding project.

The federal government has said it plans to build six to eight of the vessels, but the auditor general has warned that the navy may not get the number of vessels it needs because of cost restrictions.

Construction of the ships is scheduled to begin next September.