March 30, 2023
While many like to ease into the new year after the holiday season, with ships to be built, repaired, and modernized, the Seaspan Shipyards team hit the ground running in Q1.
At our Vancouver Shipyards, construction on the two Joint Support Ships (JSS) being built for the Royal Canadian Navy is maintaining positive momentum. In January, the first ship’s hull reached its full length on the hardstand. On March 10, one of the ship’s final major blocks, the vessel’s mast, was lifted onto the hull. The second Joint Support Ship is also underway, with the JSS2 keel laying ceremony planned for Spring/Summer 2023, marking the ‘official’ start of the next phase of construction. 17 of the vessel’s blocks are currently in production at Vancouver Shipyards. In late February, the honourable Anita Anand, Canada’s Minister of National Defence, visited the shipyard to see the construction progress on these vessels.
The Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel (OOSV) being built for the Canadian Coast Guard is also well underway following the keel laying ceremony which took place November 25, 2022. Since then, block assembly has been completed, with the final block (which will hold the Azipod thrusters) undergoing the final stages of blasting and painting. We are now focused on the consolidation of the blocks, with full ship consolidation planned by the end of the year. Work inside the vessel is on track, with the main cable for OOSV planned for later this year.
Other exciting accomplishments include continued design and engineering progress on the future Polar Icebreaker, as well for the 16 Multi-Purpose Vessels. We have also recently announced that Seaspan Shipyards has recently surpassed $2 Billion in contracts to Canadian companies under National Shipbuilding Strategy.
Our Vancouver Drydock has maintained a busy pace during the start of the year, with several exciting repair projects already completed or currently underway. To underscore just how action-packed it has been, six vessels were docked simultaneously in January to allow for repair work on a BC Ferries’ Malaspina Sky, Canadian Coast Guard’s Sir Wilfrid Laurier, a barge, the Champion tugboat, and more.
Other exciting projects that have also taken place already this year include work on two Alaska Marine Lines barges, sister vessels that stopped by for quick back-to back visits.
Over at our Victoria Shipyards, we said goodbye to TOTE Maritime Alaska’s North Star following a 10-week stay, where it underwent work to prepare the vessel to run on LNG dual-fuel technology, one of the most environmentally friendly maritime fuels. Its sister ship, the Midnight Sun, visited Victoria Shipyards in 2021/2022 to undergo the same conversion work. Directly following its departure, we had the CSL Tecumseh in for a short stay after its rudder broke down. Work on the Tecumseh will be completed at Vancouver Drydock over the summer.
Seaspan’s Victoria Shipyards also has two of the Royal Canadian Navy’s frigates in the yard. HMCS Calgary arrived at the facility on January 9, 2023, to begin its 16-month stay in Victoria for maintenance, repair, and the installation of new systems. Upon the vessel’s arrival, we started cleaning bilges and tanks, removing coatings, and removing flooring substrate, all to support critical steel surveys in preparation for the frigate entering drydock in early Spring 2023. HMCS Regina was in drydock from June to October 2022. Major hot work is drawing to a close, and with work fronts nearing completion, the reactivation of systems was able to start in February. This is a collaborative activity where we support the Fleet Maintenance Facility and Royal Canadian Navy. Compartment turnovers are well underway as we finalize preparations for HMCS Regina’s delivery back to the Navy in late April. The frigate is anticipated to be back in service shortly afterwards.
Regarding work under the Victoria-Class Submarine In Service Support Contract (VISSC), initial work to prepare for HMCS Victoria’s Extended Docking Work Period has begun at Victoria Shipyards. that work has now kicked off and the team here at Victoria Shipyards has started removing all the equipment off the submarine, allowing the surveys to be done to ensure the submarine will be safe to operate for the next 12 years. We’re also very close to delivering HMCS Corner Brook back to the Navy. Just before Christmas, that submarine was transferred back to the naval yard for final commissioning and trials.
Inside the shops, our newly established pipe spool fabrication facility, which supports the National Shipbuilding Strategy’s new vessel build program at our Vancouver Shipyards, is now producing approximately 100 pipe spools per week since achieving full-rate production.