The following is the text of a news release from Seaspan Shipyards:
(NORTH VANCOUVER, British Columbia) — Seaspan Shipyards on Friday celebrated the launch of the first large vessel to be designed and built under the government of Canada's National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) — Sir John Franklin (OFSV1), the first of three offshore fisheries science vessels (OFSV).
In 2011, the government of Canada competitively selected Seaspan to be its non-combat shipbuilder as part of the NSS program. Under the NSS, Seaspan will build and deliver non-combat vessels at the company's state-of-the-art facility in North Vancouver for the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) and Royal Canadian Navy. OFSV1 is the first large vessel to be designed, built and launched under the NSS. It represents an important milestone in Seaspan's long-term strategic relationship with the government of Canada.
"Seaspan Shipyards is proud to be building ships in Canada for the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy," said Brian Carter, president and CEO, Seaspan Shipyards. "Today's event is an exciting occasion for not only our company and employees, but Canada's broader shipbuilding and marine industries. It is a chance to celebrate this shared achievement and acknowledge the long-term partnership that exists between Canada and Seaspan to build non-combat vessels in British Columbia."
"Our government is delivering on commitments made to the Canadian Coast Guard and is proud to see the launch of the first large non-combat vessel under the National Shipbuilding Strategy," said Carla Qualtrough, minister of public services and procurement. "This strategy is offering significant opportunities to Canadians and Canadian suppliers across Canada."
OFSV1 is a 206-foot CCG fisheries research vessel. The ship will be used to gain a better understanding of the health of fish stocks and their ocean environment. OFSV1 is the first of three OFSV ships built by Seaspan, with considerable progress made on the remaining two ships.
"Today's launch is a significant milestone for our government as we make good on our commitment to providing the men and women of the Coast Guard and our scientists with the equipment they need to conduct their important work for Canadians," said Dominic LeBlanc, minister of fisheries and oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
Through the NSS, Seaspan has embarked on many years of sustained shipbuilding on the West Coast that is delivering results to Canada and the Canadian economy. Seaspan's work on the NSS non-combat package of vessels has already helped create thousands skilled, middle-class jobs across the country; this year alone, Seaspan has awarded more than $180 million in contracts to Canadian businesses, which comprise more than 90 percent of its total suppliers. To date, Seaspan has committed to spend more than $540 million with over 400 Canadian businesses on NSS-related work.
"Seaspan is playing a major role in rebuilding B.C.'s shipbuilding sector by creating good jobs for British Columbians, growing local supply chains and making key investments in innovation research," said Bruce Ralston, the government of British Columbia's minister of jobs, trade and technology. "The launch of this vessel is the first of many, and signals to the rest of Canada and the world that B.C. is ready and capable to take on large scale projects and produce state-of-the-art vessels."
"Shipbuilding is an industry of strategic importance for a maritime nation like Canada. Thanks to the government of Canada's National Shipbuilding Strategy, our domestic shipbuilding industry is being rebuilt and positioned for long-term success," said Carter.