Canada Amends Third Shipyard Invitation After Complaint

file photo
file photo

Published Aug 26, 2019 8:45 PM by The Maritime Executive

Public Services and Procurement Canada has amended its invitation for a third shipyard to participate in the National Shipbuilding Strategy after a complaint was lodged by Heddle, owner of Thunder Bay shipyards and Port Weller dry docks in Ontario.

Heddle complained the invitation was biased in favor of Davie shipyard in Quebec.

The invitation for a third yard came with Canada's Minister for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Jonathan Wilkinson, announcing on August 2 that the Coast Guard will be procuring six new program icebreakers to replace its current aging fleet.

The Government of Canada officially launched a competitive process, through an Invitation to Qualify, to add a third Canadian shipyard, joining Irving Shipbuilding and Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards, as a strategic partner under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. This new shipyard will build the new program icebreakers for the Coast Guard. Davie was considered a likely contender for the work.

However, Heddle complained the invitation excluded all Ontario-based shipyards by saying they had to be able to build vessels at least 130 meters in length and 24 meters wide when the icebreakers would only be 20 meters wide.

The Government has now issued a statement saying: “In response to industry feedback, we have recently made amendments to the invitation to qualify (ITQ) for a third National Shipbuilding Strategy shipyard. Notably, we have corrected an inconsistency in the vessel dimensions that shipyards’ must be capable of building and launching.”

The invitation now calls for the capability for yards to build vessels 110 meters in length and 20 meters in width.

However, the government still has a requirement that the selected shipyard has a contract now or recent experience for building a ship or offshore structure weighing more than 1,000 tons, something that Davie would be able to satisfy, but not Heddle, according to local media reports.

Heddle remains optimistic though, reports National Newswatch, and plans to partner with Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards to satisfy the requirement.

The Government of Canada has now extended the ITQ deadline until August 30, 2019.