Irving Shipbuilding this week pumped in $4.5 million to support local marine innovation and commercialization.

The shipbuilder is investing the amount, over a period of five years, in Dartmouth’s newly-established Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE).

COVE is operated by the Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise (IORE). It is in the early stages of transforming a former Canadian Coast Guard facility on the Halifax Harbour into extensive marine facilities with two large, deep-water piers, office space, a start-up incubator and space for shops and labs.

The federal and provincial governments are also supporting COVE. In September 2016, the Government of Canada committed $7.17 million and the Province of Nova Scotia committed $12.55 million to support the refurbishment of the site and development of facilities at COVE.

“We are so pleased to celebrate the contribution from Irving Shipbuilding supporting the operation of the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship – COVE,” said Jim Hanlon, chief executive officer of the Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise. “Unique in the world, COVE will bring together ocean sector start-ups, small and large industry and commercialization experts to move the region and the country to the forefront of the new knowledge-based ocean economy.”

The head of Irving tied COVE with Canada’s shipbuilding strategy.

“Almost directly across the harbour we will soon welcome COVE, the world’s most innovative ocean technology incubator,” said Kevin McCoy, president of Irving. “This is a shining example of the National Shipbuilding Strategy creating a sustainable and vibrant marine industry in Canada.”

In 2011, Irving selected by the Government of Canada to construct Canada’s future naval combatant fleet.

The company committed to investing 0.5 per cent of its contract revenues in creating a sustainable marine industry across Canada. This will amount to approximately $12.5M over the construction of Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS), the first class of vessel under construction at Irving Shipbuilding’s Halifax Shipyard as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The Halifax Shipyard workforce of 1,500, are building Canada’s first two AOPS, the future HMCS Harry DeWolf and the future HMCS Margaret Brooke.

The first AOPS is scheduled to be delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy in 2018.

COVE is expected to train, attract and retain ocean talent; share resources; and enhance the global reputation of Canada’s marine technology cluster.