Big Day for Canadian Shipbuilding

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October 19, 2012

Artist’s rendition of the new facility. Image: Seaspan

Seaspan Marine today broke ground on a $200 million re-development and facilities upgrade at its Vancouver Shipyard facility that will help the yard fulfill a historic shipbuilding contract for the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy.

Today’s groundbreaking ceremony was held on the one year anniversary from when Seaspan Marine Corp. won the $8 billion contract with the Canadian Government through the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS). In total, Seaspan could build up to seven non-combat vessels under what is the largest military shipbuilding program ever in Canada’s history.

The $200 million awarded to Vancouver Shipyards will result in the completion of four new fabrication buildings, a shipbuilding gantry crane, and a load-out pier, which will help the efficiently build the new Non-Combat ships.

The initial vessels included in the Non-Combat program are three Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels, one Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel, one Polar Icebreaker and two Joint Support Ships. Seaspan will also spend additional money to upgrade facilities at Victoria Shipyards including a new building to support the commissioning and trials of the new ships.

“Today is an exciting day for Seaspan and for our 2400 employees,” said Seaspan CEO Jonathan Whitworth. “The beginning of construction at our shipyard marks the rebirth of a once thriving shipbuilding business on the BC Coast. Not only are we building a world-class shipyard in North Vancouver, we’re looking forward to revitalizing the ship construction business and to training and growing our workforce by an additional 1000 employees over the next three years. We are committed to completing the facilities upgrades as proposed in our original NSPS bid by 2015.”

The NSPS program is expected to create stable work over the next decade for shipbuilders on the North Shore and suppliers throughout BC and across the Canada. It is estimated this work will create 4000 direct, indirect and induced jobs throughout the life of the build program.

“I am pleased to be a witness to today’s event as it is a testament to Seaspan’s confidence in themselves, their future, and their workforce.” said the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women. “This major investment in these assets will definitely help to make Vancouver Shipyards a world-class shipbuilding centre of excellence”.

“Shipbuilding in British Columbia is on a roll,” said Premier Christy Clark. “Our government is proud of our partnership with Seaspan and we’re confident the thousands of jobs they’re currently creating will continue for future generations. This re-development demonstrates BC’s world-class shipbuilding expertise and is another sign of how British Columbia is a safe harbour for investment.”

Work has already started in supporting both the Canadian Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy in the designs of the initial ships. This work will continue leading to construction on the first vessel in 2013.

“We are proud to have been selected to build the future Non-Combat ships,” said Jonathan. “Seaspan and the Washington Family are making this significant investment in our facilities as part of our commitment to Canada to deliver the new vessels on time and on budget.”


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