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Canadian shipyard group assails coast guard planned offshore vessel purchase

Colin Cooke, president CMISA 

OTTAWA – The Canadian Marine Industry and Shipbuilding Association (CMISA), representing marine suppliers and shipyards from all across Canada, today voiced a strong objection to the current Request for Proposal (RFP) published for the Canadian Coast Guard. The CGC is again purchasing a used ship from offshore, instead of building this ship right here at home, declared a statement released by CMISA President Colin Cooke.

“Our members are quite capable of designing, engineering, supplying material and building this ship in Canada where so many Canadians can benefit from this work,” said the CMISA. “A fast track project to build this light icebreaker would be a winning solution for our members, the marine industry, and Canadian taxpayers.

“Why are federal departments continually allowed to ignore the Government’s shipbuilding policy and buy vessels offshore when CMISA members have the capability to produce this vessel in Canada?”

“This is the second such procurement that has taken work from our members this past week. On the same day this light icebreaker RFP was published, Transport Canada proudly announced it had procured used tonnage from Europe with another ‘in extremis’ purchase of a large ferry from Spain called the Villa de Terror. We estimate that these two procurements will represent a loss of over 2.5 million person hours of labour and over $250M in material purchases in Canada,” the industry group said.

It added: “It is even more important to build our federal ships in Canada during this pandemic, with COVID-19 disrupting our lives and the Government searching for ways to stimulate our economy. Building this light icebreaker will certainly stimulate work for our Association members and allow our industry to continue to rejuvenate our domestic icebreaking expertise, as the importance of ice navigation around our country continues to grow.

“Our task is simple, return the icebreaker procurement to its original strategy of leasing or chartering a ship for the next 3 years and allow our membership to start on a fast track build-in-Canada solution.”

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