Marystown shipyard chases $2.6-B contract
BY STEVE BARTLETT
Ottawa’s on-again, off-again intent to build joint support ships for the navy is on again, and the Marystown shipyard hopes to be in the running. Again! Frank Smith, director of business development with Kiewit Offshore, admitted “It’s nice to see it’s back on the table. That’s very positive. We just have to play the process now.”
The feds scuttled an attempt to construct three ships two years ago, saying the two final bidders for the $2.9-billion contract couldn’t meet the allotted budget.
A partnership between Kiewit and Thyssen-Krupp Marine Services Canada was one of those bidders, and it had hoped to build the ships in Marystown.
Experts suggested before it was cancelled the much-anticipated contract would have changed the economy of the Burin Peninsula, and the entire province,
Joint support ships would allow other vessels in the Navy fleet to stay at sea longer by providing support with things such as fuel, ammunition, food and water.
They’d also serve as a helicopter base, be able to deliver limited cargo ashore and have a capacity to provide limited support for land forces.
This month, Ottawa announced its quest to procure such ships was back on. But this time, they hope to acquire two, with an option for a third.
The first phase, according to National Defence, is to select a vessel design (two years duration). Then a shipyard selected through a competitive national procurement strategy will be awarded the $2.6-billion contract.
Mr. Smith insisted “ We’re going to compete to be one of the shipyards, yes.”
He estimated the shipyard selection process will take about 18 months.
Marystown Mayor Sam Synard said he was elated when he heard of the feds’ renewed interest in the ships.
“ We feel very good about our chances to re-qualify, No. 1, to be short listed, No. 2, and actually to get the contract, No. 3.”
Mr. Synard, suggesting Kiewit was the company to beat, said the benefits of getting the contract are “pretty well selfexplanatory,” with hundreds of jobs and major upgrades to the Marystown yard.
“It would be a great thing for Newfoundland and Labrador, and I think it would be an even greater thing for Marystown and the Burin Peninsula.”
Ottawa’s plan is for the first ship to be ready by 2017. The original bidding process had identified 2012 to deliver the first vessel.