Nfld. & Labrador

Contractor ordered to pay Marine Atlantic $1.3M for unfinished wharf

Marine Atlantic incurred extra costs because it had to hire a new contractor to finish work on wharf for the Atlantic Vision ferry.

Court rules contractor didn't have plan, people or acceptable design for work in Argentia

The Argentia wharf work was needed to accommodate the Atlantic Vision. (Marine Atlantic)

The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador has ordered a construction company to pay Marine Atlantic more than $1.3 million for its failure to complete wharf work in Argentia.

Both parties had accused the other of breach of contract, but in a decision made public Monday, Justice James Adams ruled against the company, R.J.G. Construction.

"The real cause of the delays was incompetence on the part of the management of R.J.G. in failing to properly plan for
the needs of the project with skilled staff, equipment and work scheduling," Adams wrote.

Marine Atlantic hired the company in March 2013 to do wharf work to accommodate docking requirements of the ferry Atlantic Vision, which was to go into service on the Argentia-to-North Sydney route that June.

But there were problems when backwash from the ferry thrusters filled in the excavated area and distorted a steel template.

"R.J.G. did not sufficiently (or at all) preplan how it would complete the work. It failed to meet any of the milestones it established in the six work schedules prepared and presented," Adams wrote in his judgment.

He also said the company did not have adequate skilled tradespeople to complete the work, or appropriate cranes or barges.

Adams rejected R.J.G.'s contention that Marine Atlantic was bullying and intimidating, saying the Crown corporation simply issued an ultimatum.

The judge noted that Marine Atlantic had to hire another contractor to complete the project, at an additional cost.

He ordered R.J.G. to pay $1,315,688.56 in damages, plus HST and interest.