Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards gets $65M to build navy supply and science ships

One of the projects is a $144-million replacement for Canada's oldest science vessel, the CCGS Hudson.

North Vancouver yard will start building a replacement for Canada's oldest science vessel, the CCGS Hudson

Workers at Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards in North Vancouver watch today's funding announcement from Procurement Minister Judy Foote. (Don Marce/CBC)

Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards will receive $65.4-million in federal money to start building two non-combat vessels for oceanographic research and navy supply, the procurement minister announced today.

This is the latest injection of federal dollars for the North Vancouver shipyard, which in 2011 won the $8-billion contract for seven non-combat vessels, including these two, as part of the government's 30-year National Shipbuilding Strategy.

So, today's announcement is no surprise but does allow the company to start buying steel, motors, propellers, shafts and scientific equipment for the ships.

"Canada needs a well-equipped navy and Coast Guard, and we are committed as a government to making this happen," said Minister of Public Services and Procurement Judy Foote in North Vancouver.

Replacing Canada's oldest science vessel

Up to $30-million of the money announced today will go toward building a new offshore oceanographic science vessel, which will replace the CCGS Hudson, Canada's oldest science vessel, Foote said.

The Hudson, which has its own Facebook fan page, "has put in over half a century of service for our country and is desperately in need of being replaced," she said.

The new vessel is estimated to cost $144.4-million and will be used to conduct geological surveys, fish habitat studies and other research into the biology and chemistry of the ocean.

"Evidence and research are vital to our country's environment and to the fishery on which so many coastal communities depend for their well-being," said Foote, who represents the riding of Bonavista-Burin-Trinity in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The famed research vessel, CCGS Hudson, has been in service since 1962. (John Darrell David/Facebook)

Naval supply ship

The other $35-million of today's announcement is for one of two joint support ships, which will help supply Royal Canadian Navy ships to let them stay at sea longer without returning to port.

The two vessels are estimated to cost a total of $2.3-billion.

"I am pleased we are now one step closer to ... delivering on a critical capability needed by the brave naval men and women of our Royal Canadian Navy," said Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan in a statement.

The North Vancouver shipyard has already started building one of three offshore fisheries science vessels, and will also build a polar icebreaker.

An artist's rendering of the Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel, another one of the seven non-combat vessels being built by Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards. (Seaspan Shipyards)

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