The main structural components of the Royal Canadian Navy's first Arctic patrol ship have been assembled at the Halifax Shipyard.

Irving Shipbuilding said Friday that the bow section of HMCS Harry DeWolf was carried by heavy-lift transporters to a spot on the waterfront, where it is being fitted to the ship's centre and stern sections.

The ship is expected to be launched at the Halifax Shipyard next summer.

The front section comes out of the shipbuilding facility in Halifax.

The front section comes out of the shipbuilding facility in Halifax. (Canadian Forces)

However, some of the unionized workers at the shipyard voted earlier this week to give their bargaining committee a strike mandate.

Unifor Local 1 says about 700 of 800 unionized employees — including metal fabricators and electricians — voted on Sunday, with 99 per cent favouring a strike. Their contract expires at the end of this month.

Contract talks started early last month, with Irving requesting a conciliator after about four days at the table.

Exact number of ships to be built unknown

The previous Conservative government launched the national shipbuilding strategy in 2010, budgeting $35 billion to rebuild the navy and Coast Guard fleets while also creating a sustainable shipbuilding industry on both the east and west coasts.

Earlier this month, Irving said it won't know until at least next year whether it will be able to build six Arctic patrol vessels within the government's $3.5-billion budget, or only five.

The company says it has already committed $1.9 billion in spending on the patrol ship project.

"As the first ship of the class, having the future HMCS Harry DeWolf assembled at land level is a significant milestone," Kevin McCoy, president of Irving Shipbuilding, said in a statement.

"Canada's shipbuilding industry is being reinvigorated, and Canadians are benefiting from coast to coast to coast."

Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf's lengthy naval career included command of HMCS St. Laurent and HMCS Haida from 1939 until 1944.

The Bedford, N.S., man earned a number of accolades for his service, including an appointment as a commander of the Order of the British Empire and as an officer of the U.S. Legion of Merit. 

Bedford's DeWolf Park is also named in his honour.