Irving Shipbuilding marked the installation of the final piece of steel frame for its new Assembly and Ultra Hall Production facility with a ceremony at the Halifax shipyard on Wednesday.
Politicians from the federal government, the province and the city were on hand as employees of Walters Steel and members of Ironworkers Local 752 install the signed structural steel beam on the production building that will produce the Royal Canadian Navy’s next fleet of combat ships, beginning next September with the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship.
“We’re extremely pleased with the progress on our facilities and are confident we’ll be ready to start building in September of next year,” said Kevin McCoy, president of Irving Shipbuilding. “We expect our buildings to be weather tight by the end of this year, when we’ll shift our focus to the interior and the incredible amount of work left to make them production-ready. The men and women of Irving Shipbuilding certainly can’t wait to get started.”
The ceremony marked an important milestone for Irving and its role in the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. To date, modernization of the shipyard and definition of the AOPS has involved more than $310 million in Canadian contracts and over 3,000 direct and indirect employees across the country, with almost half of that commitment invested in Nova Scotia companies, he said. “They’re working on updating and modernizing our yard and facilities, they’re building us new systems and equipment, and they’re doing all the preparatory design, planning and procurement work to make the first set of ships go as smoothly as possible. It’s been said often that a defence program of this magnitude extends far beyond the shipyard itself. We have certainly seen evidence of that, even at these still early stages.”