Seaspan Joint Venture Awarded LNG Canada Tug contract

LNG Canada
This is an artist’s rendering of the LNG Canada facility illustrating the project at full build-out. Image: LNG Canada

A joint venture involving partnership between Vancouver, Canada-based Seaspan and the Haisla First Nation has been awarded a contract to design, build and operate escort and harbor tugs for LNG Canada’s LNG export facility that is being constructed in Kitimat, British Columbia.

The value of the contract, which spans a 12-year time period, is valued at approximately $500 million and will result in direct employment opportunities for approximately 70 mariners and six onshore staff, plus benefits to partner organizations.

The joint venture partnership, named HaiSea Marine, is majority-owned by the Haisla First Nation. Gitxaala Nation and the Gitga’at Nation will also benefit through a transit agreement with the Haisla.

“Our agreement with Seaspan ensures our members will have access to employment, training and procurement opportunities on the contract with LNG Canada,” says Crystal Smith, Chief Councillor of the Haisla Nation. “The opportunity to work locally in the marine industry is of great significance to the Haisla people.”

LNG Canada will export Canadian natural gas to Asian markets from Kitimat, which is located in in northern British Columbia in traditional territory of the Haisla Nation.

LNG carriers will require tugs to provide berthing and unberthing assistance in Kitimat, in addition to the transportation of material and personnel, marine emergency response, firefighting and oil pollution response. Escort tugs are specifically required to escort LNG carriers from Triple Island to the facility in Kitimat, approximately 159 nautical miles.

Vancouver-based Robert Allan Ltd., an independent, privately owned firm of consulting naval architects and marine engineers, has been contracted to design the new vessels.

The tugs are yet to be constructed and will go into service shortly prior to production commencing, which is estimated for before the middle of next decade.

“Seaspan owns a large fleet, has extensive new build experience and has the largest pool of tug masters and engineers in BC, providing us with the scale to train for and operate the project in a cost-efficient manner,” says Frank Butzelaar, CEO Seaspan Marine Transportation. “Our innovative training and safety programs ensure that HaiSea mariners will be well prepared to support the safest project on earth.”

Once completed, LNG Canada will produce an estimated 14 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) from the first two trains, with the potential to expand to four trains in the future. Partners in the project include Shell (40%), PETRONAS (25%), PetroChina (15%), Mitsubishi Corporation (15%) and KOGAS (5%).