National Shipbuilding Strategy: It’s working!

in Updates

​I would like to set the record straight following the recent derogatory commentary published in the Chronicle Herald on the National Shipbuilding Strategy and our workforce at Halifax Shipyard, by Chairman of Davie Shipbuilding Alex Vicefield.

It is puzzling that a company that has delivered only one complete new construction large ship in the last 20 years feels the need to directly address the citizens of Nova Scotia and insult our shipyard, shipbuilders, and local and national political leaders who fiercely defend a program that is working for Canada.   

In 2011, the Government of Canada determined that there was only enough long-term large shipbuilding work required for the Navy and Coast Guard to sustain continuous employment and modernization at two shipyards in Canada. Through the open, transparent and competitive National Shipbuilding Strategy, which Davie bid on and lost, Halifax Shipyard and Vancouver Shipyard were selected to construct Canada’s future Navy and Coast Guard fleets.

Despite claiming that the “New Davie” leadership team is delivering results, the facts prove otherwise: 

  • In 2007, Davie started cutting steel for the first of three Cecon vessels. In 2014 Davie delivered the first and only Cecon vessel, Hull 717. In December 2016, the owners of the second vessel, Hull 718, hauled away its derelict hull on the back of a semi-submersible ship to be finished in Europe. Rusted incomplete units for a third ship remain at the Davie shipyard.
  • In 2013, Davie received a contract to construct two car ferries for STQ Ferries and deliver them in 2015. The ferries are still not delivered and the Quebec government has requested a probe into the schedule and cost overages estimated at $100M. 
  • Davie’s Resolve-Class Support Ship (MV ASTERIX) was more than twice the cost and took twice the time to build compared to Halifax Shipyard’s proposal. All of our work would have been done by shipbuilders in Canada – we proposed 100% Canadian content.  Davie elected to outsource major shipbuilding work to a company in Finland, including the construction and outfitting of the superstructure.

The National Shipbuilding Strategy has right sized the number of large shipbuilders needed in Canada and has brought much needed certainty to an industry that for too many years was subjected to widespread layoffs.  The National Shipbuilding Strategy and the significant economic benefits being realized across Canada are beyond question – including $815 million in spending commitments right here in Nova Scotia so far. For more information on these and updates on our progress please go to ShipsforCanada.ca.

Finally, Mr. Vicefield, it’s probably hard for you to see from the French Riviera, but I can assure you that the best and brightest shipbuilders are right here in Nova Scotia, and we are incredibly proud of all 1,800 of them. We will continue to fiercely defend our team of world class shipbuilders and our role in building Canada’s future Navy - a role that we won fair and square.

Kevin McCoy

President, Irving Shipbuilding Inc.