An announcement this week of $2.5 billion in federal funding for construction of dozens of small vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard is being welcomed by North Vancouver’s Allied Shipbuilders.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced this week that federal funds will pay for construction of up to 61 small vessels.
According to the DFO, contracts for construction of the small vessels will be competitively tendered.
News about the new federal ships was welcomed by Allied Shipbuilders this week, where president Chuck Ko told Glacier Media the North Vancouver company is “absolutely” interested in building vessels for the Coast Guard.
Allied would be prepared to look at anything between 300 tonnes and just under 1,000 tonnes, he said.
As for the size of vessels Allied would be interested in, Ko pointed to the 54.7-metre CCGS Tanu, a fisheries patrol vessel, and the 39.7-metre CCGS Vector.
Allied is also hoping that contracts will include a large production run of lifeboats, he said.
According to the DFO, bidding on the smaller vessels will be open to smaller shipyards and suppliers across Canada, but will specifically exclude large shipyards like Seaspan, already building federal ships under the national shipbuilding strategy, in order to spread benefits to other companies in the marine industry.
Construction of the first small vessel to be built with this funding, a near shore fisheries research vessel, is expected to begin in the next one to two years.
Dave Hargreaves, senior vice-president of strategy, business development and communications at Seaspan Shipyards, one of the country’s few large shipbuilders, said his company is happy to see the announcement which will further strengthen the “vast Canadian supply chain that has already seen tremendous growth as a direct result of the [National Shipbuilding Strategy] large-vessel build programs.”
“It takes the combined efforts of a country-wide shipbuilding industry to rebuild a fleet, and all of Canada’s shipyards will be onboard.”
A government statement says the small vessels will “play an important role in the safety of mariners in Canadian waters and will support essential Canadian Coast Guard services and operations such as science research, aids to navigation, environmental response and search and rescue.”
The plan calls for:
• Six mid-shore, multi-mission vessels
• One near-shore fishery research vessel
• Sixteen specialty vessels consisting of two special NavAids vessels, four special shallow-draft buoy tenders, four inshore science vessels, four special enforcement vessels, and two lake-class vessels.
• Four air cushion vehicles
• Thirty-four Cape-class search and rescue lifeboats
The federal announcement follows B.C’s recent decision to allocate up to $25 million over three years to upgrade shipyards in the areas of shipbuilding, refit, repair and maintenance.