Windsor

Wheatley ship builder secures $25M contract to refurbish 11 coast guard vessels

A Wheatley ship builder has secured a new contract, worth $25 million, to refurbish 11 coast guard vessels from the Great Lakes.

Contract will provide employment for a number of years, president of Hike Metal Products Ltd. says

President of Hike Metal Products Ltd. Steve Ingram says the motorized lifeboats to be refurbished are approximately 20 years old. (Hike Metal Products Ltd.)

A Wheatley, Ont. ship builder has secured a new contract, worth $25 million, to refurbish 11 coast guard vessels from the Great Lakes. 

President of Hike Metal Products Ltd. Steve Ingram said the motorized lifeboats are approximately 20 years old.

He said the new contract falls under the federal government's National Shipbuilding Strategy — a long-term project to renew Canada's federal fleet of combat and non-combat vessels. 

Ingram said the refurbishment work will see them "keeping the existing hull" while upgrading the boats themselves with "new engines and more state of the art type electronics" to make them easier to operate and more functional. 

LISTEN | Hear more about how the Coast Guard vessels will be updated:
Steve Ingram, a Wheatley ship builder, speaks with CBC Afternoon Drive host Chris dela Torre about a contract to build Coast Guard lifeboats.

"A refurbishment is basically pulling the old boat apart very carefully because again, with vessels, you have to worry about weight distribution and stability," Ingram said. 

President of Hike Metal Products Ltd., Steve Ingram. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

"So where you take parts from and where you put them back has to be very carefully engineered and calculated.

"There's a lot of procedures and processes. Everything that comes off is tagged, everything goes back on is weight-tagged and it's a nice process and it's certainly enjoyable for my resources. It's a little different type of work for the disciplines to go on and start tearing things apart instead of building from new," Ingram added.

Five and a half years of work

Ingram said he's happy for the contract, adding that it would provide employment for a number of years.

"They want two vessels refurbished a year, so this is, you know, five and a half years of work. We're hoping that it doesn't delay further," he said. 

Ingram said the contract is good for Wheatley, adding that he is always looking for workers.

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