Ship­yard has busy re­fit sched­ule into 2020,

Times Colonist - - News - CARLA WIL­SON

A steady stream of large con­tracts is ex­pected to keep Vic­to­ria Ship­yards busy into 2020, says its gen­eral man­ager.

Joe O’Rourke said the surge in jobs will likely in­crease em­ploy­ment by about 25 per cent, with num­bers run­ning at be­tween 600 and 1,000 peo­ple on the job through to 2020.

The next large ship sched­uled to come into the Esquimalt Grav­ing Dock is the Star Princess on Dec. 2. It is slated to stay un­til Dec. 12. The con­tract is a “big cruise ship job with a va­ri­ety of propul­sion and hull work,” O’Rourke said.

Two new scrub­ber sys­tems are be­ing in­stalled on the ship. A scrub­ber helps clean marine ex­haust emis­sions.

The Star Princess will pro­vide work for 300 to 400 em­ploy­ees, all work­ing 12 hours shifts dur­ing its time here.

As well, the cruise com­pany brings in its own staff, who stay on the ship and do in­te­rior im­prove­ments.

Two more cruise ships are sched­uled to ar­rive in 2018, with four more planned up to 2021, O’Rourke said. Vic­to­ria Ship­yards man­age­ment has worked for years to at­tract the lu­cra­tive cruise-ship busi­ness.

The com­pany is part of North Van­cou­ver-based Sea­s­pan, which runs Van­cou­ver Ship­yards and Van­cou­ver Dry­dock.

Val­ues of in­di­vid­ual cruise ship con­tracts are not re­vealed, but in­di­vid­ual con­tracts can be in the $4 mil­lion to $5 mil­lion range, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try of­fi­cials.

A full crew of ship­yard work­ers is busy on the HMCS Corner Brook sub­ma­rine, one of four in Canada’s navy, O’Rourke said. It is sched­uled to re­main in what the navy calls an ex­tended dock­ing work pe­riod un­til 2018.

On Dec. 12, the first off­shore fish­eries sci­ence ves­sel built at Sea­s­pan’s Van­cou­ver Ship­yard is sched­uled to be towed to Vic­to­ria’s Og­den Point, where it will re­main into April, O’Rourke said.

Be­cause of space lim­i­ta­tions at the grav­ing dock, tests of its new sys­tems and sea tri­als will be done out of Og­den Point, he said.

The sci­ence ves­sel is the first non-com­bat ship built at Van­cou­ver Ship­yards to be com­pleted un­der a fed­eral ship-build­ing pro­gram to re­vi­tal­ize the navy and coast guard and fish­eries fleets and to de­velop ex­per­tise at Cana­dian yards.

More fed­eral ships will be ar­riv­ing in Vic­to­ria for fi­nal tests and tri­als and com­mis­sion­ing as they are com­pleted in Van­cou­ver.

On Dec. 15, the first of two U.S.-based cargo car­ri­ers is in for 60 days in a two-stage con­ver­sion to dual fuel with liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas.

O’Rourke said that 2017 has been a strong year. “We hired a lot of ap­pren­tices this year. We’ll be hir­ing more next year.”

Esquimalt Grav­ing Dock em­ploy­ees work on the Spirit of Bri­tish Columbia ferry in 2013.

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