Government announces $65.4 M for OOSV, JSS projects handled by Seaspan

Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Judy Foote, today announce $65.4 million in funding under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) for Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd.

The two new contract to build the Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel (OOSV) and the Joint Support Ships (JSS), will allow Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. to initiate early discussions with potential suppliers and to purchase material for the projects.

“These investments demonstrate our long-term commitment for continuous shipbuilding projects which will not only rejuvenate our marine industry but also provide the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard with the ships they need to do their jobs at best value-for-money for Canadian taxpayers,” the minister said in a statement today. “By building these ships here in Canada we are bringing jobs and prosperity to many communities across the country.”

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The contracts will allow the government to purchase material—such as propulsion systems, scientific equipment, generators, and other specialized parts—before construction starts. This will allow plans to be finalized, delays to be avoided, and construction to begin on these ships as quickly as possible, according to the ministry.

“This announcement marks an important milestone in the NSS as we continue to work on three concurrent projects for the navy and the coast guard,” Tim Page, vice-president of government relations for Seaspan. “This milestone is the result of the strong collaboration between Seaspan and our customers in Ottawa.”

Earlier last week, Foote rejected an unsolicited bid sent to the government by Chantier Davie Shipyard offering to build icebreakers and multi-purpose coast guard ships for the government. The offer would have undercut the government’s deal with Seaspan which awards the construction of civilian ships to Vancouver Shipyards.

“The government is committed to a National Shipbuilding Strategy which adheres to an established and competitive procurement process. There are currently no requests for proposals for‎ icebreakers and multi-purpose ships for the Coast Guard,” Foote told the Canadian Press.

Brent Carter, president of Seaspan Shipyards, said today’s announcement will “increase opportunities for Canadian companies and provide jobs for Canadians that flow from our delivery vessels to the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy.”

“I am pleased that we are now one step closer to building the first Joint Support Ship and delivering on a critical capability needed by the brave naval men and women of our Royal Canadian Navy so that they can continue to defend Canadian waters and take part in international missions well into the future,” said National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

The NSS is a 30-year initiative geared at rebuilding the capability of the Canadian navy and the coast guard. The government estimates that the program will create 15,000 jobs and $2 billion in annual economic benefits.

It includes the commitment by the government to have the OOSV, JSS, as well as, a range of other non-combat vessels built through an umbrella agreement with Vancouver Shipyards.

To date, Vancouver Shipyards has awarded $211 million in contracts to various suppliers in Canada, and more than 160 Canadian companies have benefited from these investments.

The OOSV is the second class of Coast Guard vessels being built by Vancouver Shipyards. It is a “critical first step” in the renewal of the Coast Guard fleet, according to Hunter Tootoo, minister of fisheries, oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard. He said the vessel will be used for the next 30 years to conduct “cutting edge scientific research that will help protect our fisheries, oceans, and coastal areas.”

Author: Nestor Arellano

Nestor Arellano is editor of Vanguard Magazine. Nestor is a seasoned journalist who has written extensively on defence and military industry issues as well as technology and business developments. He is also associate editor of Vanguard's sister publication, IT in Canada.

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