June 29, 2023
With summer hitting the BC coast early, it was full steam ahead for our three shipyards – new ships are being built, old(er) ships are being maintained, and innovative technologies are changing the marine industry.
At Seaspan Vancouver Shipyards in North Vancouver, it is hard to miss the massive Joint Support Ship up on the hardstand. Cable and pipe installation on JSS1 continues, while the final major installation, the ship’s king posts, is planned for late summer. On JSS2, the vessel’s first grand block has been erected, alongside JSS1, while a total of 27 blocks are now in production. Planning is in progress for the JSS2 keel laying ceremony, which will be held in August 2023.
Alongside JSS1 in the shipyard is the Canadian Coast Guard’s future Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel (OOSV). Over the last few months, the team at Vancouver Shipyards has been focused on consolidation of the ship’s blocks – in May 2023, the vessel’s hull was consolidated below the keel line, and now, 25 out of the ship’s 38 blocks (65%) have been erected to the hull. Full ship consolidation is on track to be completed by the end of the year. The Coast Guard team also recently paid the shipyard a visit to see just how this large vessel is being constructed.
Seaspan also had exciting news regarding the Polar Icebreaker. At the end of May, Seaspan Shipyards cut steel to build a ‘Prototype Block’ marking a critical step in designing and building the first heavy Polar Icebreaker in Canada in more than 60 years. Seaspan is developing a Prototype Block to test the new systems, processes, people, and tools that are required to work with some of the very thick, specialized steel that is required to manufacture a heavy Polar Icebreaker.
While not ship specific, Seaspan also announced the awarding of contracts totaling $2.6 million to enable Gastops, BCS Automation Ltd., 3GA Marine Ltd., and Kognitiv Spark to advance digitalization and further modernize shipbuilding and fleet maintenance. In addition to providing funding, Seaspan will also give these organizations access to our HoloShip platform, along with decades of shipbuilding expertise and use cases.
Over at Vancouver Drydock, our team has been hard at work completing repair, refit and maintenance projects on various kinds of vessels. In April, a unique visitor to the drydock was FRPD-309 Dredger, a vessel capable of using suction to remove and transport sediment and sand from the seabed, deepening navigational waterways and depositing sand in eroding areas. Other exciting projects that took place in May and June included repair work on barges for Alaska Marine Lines, Kiewit, and Centerline. This spring we also welcomed two BC Ferries vessels to the drydock for scheduled ‘check-ups’ and maintenance – in April, The Northern Expedition, which takes passengers to Haida Gwaii, stopped in and in late-June we welcomed the Coastal Celebration.
At Seaspan Victoria Shipyards, one long-term project wrapped up while a number of commercial vessels also came and went.
On May 19, 2023, Victoria Shipyards officially delivered HMCS Regina back to the Royal Canadian Navy, marking the first full Docking Work Period to be completed under the shipyard’s Halifax-Class Work Period contract to maintain and modernize Canada’s West Coast-based Halifax-class frigates. HMCS Regina has now been transferred to the Navy’s Fleet Maintenance Facility in Victoria, BC, where their staff will continue to reactivate the vessel’s systems and prepare it for future deployment. The second West Coast Halifax-Class frigate to undergo a Docking Work Period is HMCS Calgary, which arrived at Seaspan Victoria Shipyards in early 2023.
On the commercial repair side, the most notable update was the return of large cruise ships to Victoria Shipyards. The Regent Seven Seas Explorer was docked in Victoria between May 23 and May 29 for a very quick turnaround before heading back out for its summer cruise schedule. This was the first cruise drydocking at Victoria Shipyards since before the COVID-19 pandemic. During this quarter, the team at Victoria Shipyards also completed work on the Alaska Ocean, and on CSL Tecumseh, which had its remaining repair work completed later at Vancouver Drydock.
On the VISSC program, work to prepare for HMCS Victoria’s Extended Docking Work Period is underway. The team here at Victoria Shipyards has begun 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. HMCS Corner Brook was delivered back to the Royal Canadian Navy in April.