Marys­town ship­yard chases $2.6-B con­tract

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

Frank Smith

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