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Canada to build 18 new ships in national strategy, add third yard

May 22, 2019 09:05 PM

The announcement of the $15.7 billion plan comes with a nod to Davie of Quebec

Courtesy Vancouver Sun

(VANCOUVER, British Columbia) — The federal Liberals have ripped open Canada’s multibillion-dollar plan to build new ships for the navy and coast guard, prompting cheers and frustration from shipyards in different parts of the country, the Vancouver Sun reported.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used a Canadian Coast Guard vessel in North Vancouver as a backdrop Wednesday to announce that Ottawa would spend $15.7 billion on new ships. The spending includes two more Arctic patrol vessels from Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding, which is building six such ships for the navy, and 16 multi-purpose vessels from Seaspan Shipbuilding in North Vancouver.

The coast guard desperately needs new ships: Documents obtained by The Canadian Press this year warned more than one-third of its 26 large vessels have exceeded their expected lifespans. And their advanced age affects the coast guard’s ability to do its job, including reduced search-and-rescue coverage, ferry-service disruptions and canceled resupply runs to the Arctic.

Yet the biggest surprise came when Trudeau revealed the government intends to add a third shipyard as a partner in the national shipbuilding strategy, in an apparent nod to Davie Shipbuilding in Quebec City.

“Canada’s two existing shipyards don’t have the capacity to deliver the fleet renewal by themselves,” said Trudeau, who was flanked by Liberal ministers and MPs from the Vancouver area. “So we’re also starting a competitive process for a third yard to help build ships when they’re needed.”

Seaspan and Irving were selected following a competition in 2011 as the two shipyards responsible for building billions of dollars in new vessels for the navy and coast guard. Davie competed, but was passed over and has since fought for scraps outside the plan, including an interim support ship for the navy and three used icebreakers for the coast guard.

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