Ottawa to purchase a 6th Arctic and offshore patrol vessel: Sajjan

The federal government had previously committed to five Arctic and offshore patrol vessels and had been considering a sixth

Concern over a potential lack of work for Halifax’s Irving Shipbuilding turned to cheers Friday as the federal government announced it would purchase a sixth Arctic and offshore patrol vessel for the Royal Canadian Navy.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan told hundreds of workers gathered in the vast facility on the Halifax waterfront that the vessel would be built in Halifax.

His announcement came a day after Ottawa revealed plans to divvy up $7 billion in maintenance and repair contracts for navy frigates among three shipyards — a move that set off alarms for workers at the Halifax yard.

The federal government had previously committed to five Arctic and offshore patrol vessels and had been considering a sixth, before Sajjan made his announcement.

The minister wouldn’t tell reporters when that decision was made.

“We had to go through our own analysis to determine if a sixth Arctic patrol vessel was going to be needed,” said Sajjan. “A determination was made, advice was given and we made a decision as a cabinet.”

The company is set to deliver the first of the vessels next summer and is in the process of building three more. They will be tasked with patrolling Canadian waters including the Arctic.

Irving said construction of the second and third vessels — to be known as HMCS Margaret Brooke and HMCS Max Bernays — is already well underway, and construction of a fourth is set to begin later this year.

Company president Kevin McCoy said a sixth vessel means help in retaining jobs at the yard because it represents a significant narrowing of a gap between when the last of the vessels are completed sometime in 2024 and work begins on the Canadian Surface Combatant program.

McCoy said although no layoffs are planned at this point, a number of things have to happen to ensure steady work.

“What the minister announced today solves about half of a three-year problem and we are continuing to have dialogue on how we collectively solve the other half,” McCoy said.

On Thursday, Ottawa said the maintenance and repair contracts for the existing frigates would be shared by Irving Shipbuilding, Seaspan Victoria Shipyards in Victoria, B.C., and Davie Shipbuilding in Levis, Que.

Workers in Halifax reacted with disappointment Thursday, citing concerns about a lack of work in the gap period.

That changed Friday as their union welcomed news of a sixth Arctic vessel.

Union local president David Baker-Mosher said the announcement should allow for more continuity at the yard.

“The additional work can close the gap,” he said. “Also we have to get a determined design for the future combatants so we can bring that closer to the end of the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships program.”

Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Commercial fishery closed tonight due to local concerns

The fishery was supposed to open tonight

Staff at checkpoint experiencing threats, racism says Nuxalk EOC

The staff at the checkpoint have been subject to threatening behaviour on multiple occasions

B.C. reopening travel not sitting well with several First Nations

A number of safety conditions have yet to be met Indigenous leaders maintain

Community helps purchase new CPR machine

The Bella Coola Hospital is the proud new owner of a brand-new Lucas 3 chest compression system.

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

VIDEO: Prince William and Kate chat with B.C. hospital staff about COVID-19

Seven-minute video posted to Youtube on Canada Day

River centre says heavy rains could bring flooding to central, northeastern B.C.

Water levels are already unusually high and river banks can be extremely unstable

Most Read