Seaspan Vancouver Shipyards and Heddle Shipyards have entered into an exclusive teaming agreement to bid for the construction of the Canadian Coast Guard’s future Polar Icebreaker, CCGS John G. Diefenbaker.
Under the terms of their agreement, if Seaspan Shipyards is awarded the Polar Icebreaker, Heddle will fabricate ship modules at its three Ontario shipyards, creating sustained, predictable and long-term work for Heddle in Hamilton, St. Catharines, and Thunder Bay. Heddle is the largest operator of shipyards on the Great Lakes.
“The NSS is employing thousands of Canadians and rebuilding the marine industry across the country; Heddle has broad domestic skills and facilities that so far have been untapped to support the strategy. We are excited to partner with Heddle to extend the economic and social benefits of the NSS, and to leverage their skills and resources to deliver a flagship Polar Icebreaker worthy of the Canadian Coast Guard and its critical missions,” said Mark Lamarre, Chief Executive Officer, Seaspan Shipyards.
“Heddle has a long and proud history of operating shipyards in Canada. Our facilities have been building ships for Canada stretching back to the production of vessels for the Royal Navy in WWI. This partnership with Seaspan Shipyards provides us with a critical opportunity to revitalize the shipbuilding industry in Ontario and Newfoundland by becoming a meaningful partner in the National Shipbuilding Strategy. This in turn will bring long-term jobs and predictability to our highly-skilled workforce at all of our shipyards and to our well-established supply chain,” said Shaun Padulo, President, Heddle Shipyards.
The agreement brought Heddle and Ontario shipyards into Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), a long-term, multibillion-dollar program to renew the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) and Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) fleets. The strategic relationship will also provide NSS program work for Heddle’s facility in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland.
Seaspan was selected in 2011 as Canada’s NSS strategic partner to build all large non-combat vessels following a comprehensive, open and transparent competitive process. With $185 million in capital infrastructure investments made by the company since the contract award, Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyard was purpose-built for the construction of the Polar Icebreaker.
The company claims that it is the only shipyard in Canada with the workforce, facilities and capacity in place today to deliver the complex vessel by the Coast Guard’s critical 2029 deadline.
Canada’s existing Polar Icebreaker, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, the only ship in the Canadian fleet capable of year-round operations in the Arctic, is in its sixth decade of service. According to the Request for Information (RFI) issued by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) in February, a replacement is needed by 2029 in order to continue to support Canada’s economy and year-round marine trade, to resupply Canada’s Arctic communities and industries, and to conduct search and rescue and environmental response operations in the Far North.
Seaspan Shipyards is about to deliver the CCG’s third Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel (OSFV) and has started construction of the RCN’s Joint Support Ship (JSS).