N.L. company gets $10M contract to refit 56-year-old coast guard ship

St. John's Dockyard Ltd. has been awarded a $10-million vessel life extension contract for the Hudson, a Nova Scotia-based offshore oceanographic science vessel.

Canadian Coast Guard hopes to extend CCGS Hudson's use another 5-10 years

CCGS Hudson is now expected to be in service until at least 2023. (Robert Short/CBC)

St. John's Dockyard Ltd. in Newfoundland has been awarded a $10-million vessel life extension contract for the Hudson, a 56-year-old Canadian Coast Guard ship.

The coast guard is hoping to squeeze another five or even 10 years out of the Nova Scotia-based offshore oceanographic science vessel that was built in 1963.

The maintenance dry-docking contract is supposed to last six months, starting Feb. 25.

The work specifications run 449 pages and include inspections, surveys and upgrades throughout the 90 metre-long ship.

Last month, Global News reported that the Davie Shipyard in Quebec had told the federal government it would not bid on the job, saying CCGS Hudson was beyond repair.

Davie declined to comment.

Replacement years late

The Hudson was supposed to be replaced as early as 2014 as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. But the project to build the replacement at Vancouver's Seaspan shipyard still has no budget, confirmed construction start date or timeline for completion.

In the meantime, the Hudson is now expected to be in service until 2023 and possibly longer.

CCGS Hudson was supposed to be replaced as early as 2014. (Shipspotting Canada CCG/Facebook)

The refit is designed to secure regulatory approvals to keep it in service for another five-year cycle.

"At least, yes," Mario Pelletier, the coast guard's deputy commissioner told CBC News in November 2018.

"As we get closer to those dates we will look and … see if we need the ship around for a bit longer. We'll look at the work that needs to be done."

The $10,070,952 contract awarded to St. John's Dockyard Ltd., known as NewDock, is Phase 2 of a life extension for CCGS Hudson.

The initial maintenance project was completed by Heddle Marine in Hamilton, Ont.

That $4-million refit was five months behind schedule and still unfinished when the government towed the Hudson out of the shipyard rather than risk having it trapped for months by the winter closure of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

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Paul Withers

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Paul Withers is an award-winning journalist whose career started in the 1970s as a cartoonist. He has been covering Nova Scotia politics for more than 20 years.

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