Seaspan, Heddle team up in bid to build Canadian polar icebreaker

The following is text of a news release from Seaspan Shipyards and Heddle Shipyards:

(NORTH VANCOUVER, British Columbia and HAMILTON, Ontario) — Seaspan Shipyards and Heddle Shipyards, the largest operator of shipyards on the Great Lakes, have entered into an exclusive teaming agreement for the Canadian Coast Guard’s future polar icebreaker, bringing Heddle and Ontario shipyards into the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). 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.

In a climate where the need to leverage federal procurement dollars to support Canadian companies and employees has never been greater, construction of the polar icebreaker will support thousands of Canadian jobs over the multi-year life of the program. 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. 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.

Canada’s existing polar icebreaker, 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 issued by Public Services and Procurement Canada 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.

Consistent with the social and economic objectives of the NSS, Seaspan Shipyards has become an economic engine for the domestic marine industry, having contributed more than $1.5 billion to Canada’s GDP to date as a result of its NSS work. With its third offshore fisheries science vessel about to be delivered to the Canadian Coast Guard, and construction of the joint support ship for the Royal Canadian Navy well under way, Seaspan Shipyards is rebuilding a marine industrial sector on Canada’s West Coast and generating economic impact across Canada through job creation and contracts with hundreds of small and medium businesses.

By Professional Mariner Staff