Seaspan Shipyards Q1 Update: Ready To Go

April 19, 2024

We always say that it was a busy start to the year, but 2024 surely takes the cake. Between engine cutouts, contract awards, subs being repaired and blocks being built, the Seaspan Shipyards teams in Victoria and North Vancouver came back from the holiday break ready to go.

Vancouver Drydock

It was an action-packed start to the year over at Vancouver Drydock, with a major refit project well underway in addition to the typical varied array of repair projects.

In early January the team the team waved goodbye to two Alaska Marine Lines barges, the Bering Trader and Tongass Provider after completing blast, paint and minor steel repair work. We also welcomed BC Ferries’ Northern Adventure which underwent blast and paint work, mechanical repairs, and had its propeller blades replaced during its stay between Feb 13 and March 5.

Other notable progress includes work on CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier which was drydocked in the Careen as part of an ongoing refit. Painting work on the Canadian Coast Guard vessel is well underway, and as of March 16, all three of the replacement 42-tonne engines were put back in place, with the cut-out of the hull fully welded into place the first week of April.

Meanwhile in the Panamax, three vessels are scheduled to be drydocked simultaneously between March 18 and April 1 for blast and paint work: ITB Vancouver, an oil barge which will also undergo some minor steel repairs; the Hannah, a 400ft long floating salmon processing plant owned by Northline Seafoods; and the Sunderoey, a fishing vessel which is also stopping by for a regulatory five-year inspection.

Group of people with shovelThis first quarter also marked the official start of construction on a new Operations Centre Building which will enable the drydock team to move from temporary trailers and into a two-story building as they look ahead to prepare for the planned drydock expansion project.

Victoria Shipyards

In Victoria, on the VISSC program, HMCS Victoria’s Extended Docking Work Period (EDWP) is underway – the team at Victoria Shipyards is moving into the heavy production phase of the EDWP, as planned, and will be ramping up to full production over the coming months. The current priority there is steel repair.

On the Navy’s frigates, work on HMCS Calgary continues and will be ongoing through the remainder of the year. The frigates are now approaching their design end of time, and the work Victoria Shipyards is doing on the West Coast frigates will help to extend the lifespan of these platforms through to the arrival of the Canadian Service Combatants.  HMCS Calgary is preparing for a final drydock period, as part of this refit, starting in May 2024 for about 6 weeks where the underwater hull will be painted, and as we complete areas of steel work, we are starting to put compartments back together in anticipation of the refit end.

Vancouver Shipyards

Seaspan CEO speaking with media

At Vancouver Shipyards, two NSS announcements kicked off the year. In February, we announced the completion of the ‘Prototype Block’ for the Canadian Coast Guard’s Polar Icebreaker program. Construction of this Prototype Block ensures that Seaspan has the proper processes, procedures, equipment, and skills necessary to build the first heavy Polar Icebreaker in Canada in more than 60 years. Then, in March, it was announced that Seaspan had been awarded the Construction Engineering (CE) and Long Lead Items (LLI) contracts for the pre-construction work of the Canadian Coast Guard’s first six Multi-Purpose Vessels (MPV).

Regarding our biggest ship out in the yard, HMCS Protecteur, we continue to work towards the vessel’s launch in North Vancouver by the end of the year. Ahead of launch we’re working on key mission spaces such as the laying the Helicopter Handling Tracks and finalizing the shaft alignment. To date, we’ve installed 50% of the cable, and more than 70% of the piping has been installed. Construction on the second Joint Support Ship (JSS), the Royal Canadian Navy’s HMCS Preserver, also continued at a steady rate through the first few months of the year. Being the second vessel in its class, this ship is benefiting from high levels of design maturity and efficiencies – more than 50% of the ship’s blocks are now in production, with particular focus being put on key blocks for the Engine and Pump Rooms. Shortly after the holiday break, Vancouver Shipyards received JSS2’s Bulbous Bow from local supplier Ideal Welders –  the 17m long block was delivered to the shipyard via barge, and will be connected up with the rest of the hull later in 2024.

The Canadian Coast Guard’s Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel, another one of the ships currently under construction at Vancouver Shipyards, is progressing well towards its launch date late this summer. Our expert team of engineers and skilled tradespeople are prioritizing critical areas of the ships’ final construction phase in order to ensure that everything remains on track. Electrical cabling is nearing completion and just a handful of major installations are left now that the structure of the vessel itself is complete; the azimuth thrusters were delivered to the shipyard and will be installed on the ship in late May, and the drop keel installation will be completed by the end of June. Systems and power testing will also begin in Q2, and continue through to Sea Trials later this year.