‘We see a fu­ture down the road’

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY NANCY KING

A $12.6-mil­lion fed­eral ten­der for the dis­man­tling of two for­mer Cana­dian Navy ships has been awarded to Ma­rine Re­cy­cling Corp., which will do the work at Sydport Industrial Park.

The project, which is ex­pected to take 18 months to com­plete, will re­sult in 35 di­rect jobs and 35 spinoff jobs, Syd­ney-Vic­to­ria MP Mark Eyk­ing said in mak­ing the an­nounce­ment at Sydport Fri­day, with the first of the two ships, the HMCS Pre­server, in the back­ground.

The Pre­server ar­rived at Sydport Fri­day morn­ing. The ship­break­ing ten­der was awarded in June and also in­volved the for­mer re­search ves­sel CFAV Quest, which will ar­rive later.

In­ter­na­tion­ally, ship­break­ing is an in­dus­try with a rep­u­ta­tion for poor en­vi­ron­men­tal prac­tices.

Wayne El­liott, di­rec­tor of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment with Ma­rine Re­cy­cling Corp., said his com­pany was the first ISO-cer­ti­fied com­pany do­ing this sort of work and is the old­est ship re­cy­cler in the world.

“I think this is … ship num­ber 134 with no ac­ci­dents, no in­sur­ance claims, no loss of ves­sels and so it’s a pretty good track record and we have no in­ten­tion of chang­ing that,” El­liott said.

Any­thing that is deemed to be haz­ardous waste — such as hy­dro­car­bons, bat­ter­ies or chem­i­cals — is re­moved from the ves­sel prior to it be­ing towed, in ac­cor­dance with fed­eral reg­u­la­tions.

“The hy­dro­car­bons are usu­ally the big­gest en­vi­ron­men­tal carnage so there aren’t any on the ship and our goal as al­ways is not a drop of waste in the wa­ter and not a drop of hy­dro­car­bons on the ground,” he said.

As­bestos is not con­sid­ered haz­ardous waste but rather a dan­ger­ous ma­te­rial. El­liott said there is likely lit­tle on­board Pre­server be­cause the ship went through a re­fit.

Mike Stege, a project man­ager with the De­part­ment of Na­tional De­fence, said monthly in­spec­tions will be done of the site. As well, qual­ity as­sur­ance rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the De­part­ment of Na­tional De­fence will be on site 24 hours a day, said Russ Pass­more, man­ager of the ma­rine in-ser­vice sup­port di­vi­sion with Pub­lic Ser­vices and Pro­cure­ment Canada.

El­liott said the com­pany is al­ways try­ing to im­prove its prac­tices and plans to try some new tech­nol­ogy in the work at Sydport. It will sub­mit its plans to the De­part­ments of De­fence and Pub­lic Ser­vices and they will have to be no­ti­fied of any changes.

The bal­last wa­ter that was used in the tow will be treated to en­sure hy­dro­car­bons have been re­moved. The ini­tial work will take place in­side the ship, sam­pling com­po­nents such wires, de­vices and paint and could be­gin soon. They will also have to hire and train em­ploy­ees.

“Safety is truly first, it has to be — the safety of our people and crews and sub­con­trac­tors, safety of the pub­lic at large … and safety of the en­vi­ron­ment,” El­liott said.

Dis­man­tling will be­gin while the ship is still in the wa­ter and then it will be brought on­shore later.

El­liott, who is based in Port Col­borne, Ont., said the com­pany has long wanted a lo­ca­tion on the ocean. Trans­port­ing a ves­sel from the East Coast to its ship re­cy­cling fa­cil­ity lo­cated on Lake Eerie re­quires trav­el­ling two sets of canals and locks, which is ex­pen­sive.

The com­pany is at a com­pet­i­tive dis­ad­van­tage to try to draw ocean ships into the Great Lakes, El­liott said, al­though it has tack­led sub­marines and a de­stroyer there.

Eyk­ing said he be­lieves this con­tract could lead to ad­di­tional work lo­cally.

“We see a fu­ture down the road with other ves­sels and de­com­mis­sion­ing that we will be able to do here in the fu­ture,” Eyk­ing said. “So we’re not just look­ing at a short-term in­dus­try here, we’re look­ing at a longterm in­dus­try which bodes well in this whole industrial park here.”

Eyk­ing said fed­eral, pro­vin­cial and mu­nic­i­pal reg­u­la­tions will ap­ply to the work. He said two Cape Bre­ton sub­con­trac­tors have been hired to help with work such as han­dling the steel.

NANCY KING/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Wayne El­liott, di­rec­tor of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment with Ma­rine Re­cy­cling Corp, left, and Syd­ney-Vic­to­ria MP Mark Eyk­ing an­nounced Fri­day that the for­mer Cana­dian navy ship HMCS Pre­server will be dis­man­tled at Sydport Industrial Park as part of a $12.6-mil­lion fed­eral con­tract.

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