11 October 2005

Local shipyards may win navy contract - amended

Joint Support Ship
[Provisional drawing, copyright Department of National Defence]

According to Canadian Press, two of four bidders for a contract to build supply and support ships for the Canadian navy plan to use Marystown Shipyard and other small facilities to build subcomponents of the ships. Final assembly would take place at Bull Arm.

The ships are officially known as Joint Support Ships. Anticipated delivery of the first of the three vessels is 2012, with initial operating capability (IOC) achieved in 2013.

A third bidder, SNC Lavalin would build the ships in Victoria, British Columbia. A consortium headed by General Dynamics would use the Davie yards at Lauzon Quebec.

The last time the Canadian navy under took a major ship construction, the contract was split between yards in English Canada and two yards in Quebec. The resulting mess cost the Mulroney government hundreds of millions of dollars in cost over-runs for the Halifax-class frigates.

Expect a repeat of the split process or the award of the contract to General Dynamics. The Davie yards have extensive experience in building Canadian warships.

Construction of the vessels on these timelines may impact on planned local construction of a small gravity-based structure for the Hebron-Ben Nevis project. There has been no public disclosure of how the companies involved would handle both major contracts simultaneously.