Canada – New $531-million submarine contract protects 200 jobs at Esquimalt

A rare site of two Canadian subs sailing together into homeport for the Christmas holidays. Seen leading the pack is the HMCS Cornerbrook with the HMCS Windsor following. The HMCS Cornerbrook and the HMCS Windsor arrived in the early dawn coming along side in Halifax today in Nova Scotia on the 21st of December 2006

Canada

The Harper government is set to announce a five-year, $531-million contract  extension to repair and upgrade Canada’s fleet of four diesel-electric  submarines

OTTAWA — B.C.’s shipbuilding and repair industry will get a shot of good news  Thursday when the Harper government announces a five-year, $531-million contract  extension to repair and upgrade Canada’s fleet of four diesel-electric  submarines, The Vancouver Sun has learned.

The contract, following a similar agreement struck in 2008, will protect  roughly 200 jobs at the department of national defence’s Fleet Maintenance  Facility in Esquimalt, according to a federal official.

Another 200 jobs will be protected at locations elsewhere in Canada, he  said.

“This significant federal investment will support more than 400 high-quality  jobs, improve the long-term sustainability of B.C.’s shipbuilding industry and  provide the best tools for Canada’s sailors,” he said in a prepared  statement.

The contract was won in a competitive bid by Babcock Canada Inc., a  subsidiary of the British multinational firm Babcock International Group  PLC.

Babcock International won the original contract in 2008 after it teamed up  with Weir Canada Inc. of Mississauga, Ont., to create a consortium called the  Canadian Submarine Management Group.

However, Babcock announced in 2011 that CSMG would be renamed Babcock Canada  Inc. after Weir’s share of the joint venture was transferred to Babcock.

The original contract award caused a political flap because Babcock beat out  Irving Shipbuilding, which wanted to keep the repair work in Halifax.

One of the critics was Green party leader Elizabeth May, who at the time was  planning her run against Defence Minister Peter MacKay in his Nova Scotia  riding.

May, who accused the government of an “anti-Atlantic bias,” is now the MP for  the Vancouver Island riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands.

The original five-year contract in 2008 was worth $370 million over five  years, but if CSMG met performance targets the contract was to be extended over  15 years, for a total value of up to $1.5 billion.

Thursday’s announcement gives a clear indication that Babcock has met those  targets.

The fleet of four Victoria-class diesel-electric submarines has had a rocky  history after the Liberal government made what appeared to be the  bargain-basement purchase of the mothballed subs from the Royal Navy for $750  million in 1998.

It took far longer and was costlier than expected to make the vessels  seaworthy, and in 2004 the HMCS suffered a fire that left one officer dead. In  2011, HMCS Corner Brook ran aground near Vancouver Island during manoeuvres.

There are now two subs, HMCS Victoria and HMCS Windsor, that are fully  operational.

HMCS Chicoutimi is currently being serviced at Esquimalt but is expected to  be ready for sea trials later this year.

The HMCS Corner Brook is also in Esquimalt for both repairs and a refit.

The fleet is “at the highest state of readiness that they’ve ever been,” the  source said.

Source – The Vancouver Sun

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One thought on “Canada – New $531-million submarine contract protects 200 jobs at Esquimalt

  1. Sandy Sutherland

    Surely the Sun should know it’s not “the HMCS” but simply HMCS, short for Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship, unlike “the USS…”, short for the United States Ship …

    Reply

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