Quebec-based Chantier Davie Canada Inc. lauded the proactive move by competing shipbuilder Irving Shipbuilding to pitch a $300 million support vessel deal to the Canadian government.

In a statement released last week, Davie said it “commends Irving Shipbuilding on taking a positive and innovative approach” to solving the major capability gaps faced by the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Vanguard Podcast: Listen to Kevin McCoy of Irving talk about his $300-M proposal

“Irving Shipbuilding is confirming what has been universally recognized over the past months, including by the Government of Canada in the Canada Transportation Act review. That there are several classes of ship which Canada urgently needs and the current shipbuilding program is not capable of delivering,” Alex Vicefield, Davie’s chairman commented at the recently concluded Cansec 2016 conference.

“This is a great initiative from Irving Shipbuilding – this kind of unsolicited proposals where industry takes what it has learnt in how to provide fast-track, cost-efficient solutions to address critical operational gaps, is exactly what is needed right now,” he said.

Irving is proposing a maritime support ship that is a 193-metre long vessel with a displacement of 21,000 tonnes. The ship is capable of hauling 14,000 tonnes of cargo, and can be tailored to carry, container vans, helicopters, landing craft, construction equipment, as well as supplies such as food, medicines, and fresh water.


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Irving is proposing that the government lease the vessel for five years for under $300 million. That price will include the ship’s crew of 37, as well as maintenance for the vessel.

The thing is, the government has not put tendered any contract for such a vessel yet.

However, Kevin McCoy, president of Irving, said his company is replying to the government’s call to the public for suggestions to the ongoing Canadian defence policy review.

“This is not an unsolicited proposal,” McCoy stressed during a press briefing at the CANSEC 2016 conference. “…this is in the context of the government’s call for input for the defence policy review…they are asking what type of mission the military should respond to, what type of equipment they should get.”

“We must pursue this kind of interim and supplementary programs to ensure that we can close the capability gaps which either currently exist, or shortly will, in Canada’s federal fleet,” Vicefield said. “Of course, this can’t be done without bringing in the capacity of Canada’s largest and highest capacity shipbuilder.”

He said the original recommendations that industry made to the previous Conservative government should be revisited and that the recently elected Liberal governments should “reconsider how the full capacity of Canada’s shipbuilding industry can optimize fleet renewal and ensure a continuous workflow.”