Launch of the First Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel


Speaking Notes for

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough
Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Launch of the
First Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel

North Vancouver, British Columbia
December 8, 2017

Check against Delivery 

Thank you for that kind introduction, Brian [President and CEO of Seaspan Shipyards].

Good afternoon. I acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish peoples.

Jeff Hutchinson, Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard

Bruce Ralston, British Columbia Minister of Jobs, Trades and Technology

Ladies and gentlemen.

It is a pleasure to be here for the first time as Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada, and especially to be here on such an exciting occasion.

First, let me congratulate Seaspan Shipyards, your management team and especially your workers on achieving this major milestone under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The launch of the first large vessel to be completed on either coast, the Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel, is a proud moment for Seaspan Shipyards, for the Canadian Coast Guard and for Canadians.

More than 1,100 workers helped build the Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel. More than 15 skilled trades were used throughout the construction.

The vessel includes more than 10 kilometres of piping supporting more than 20 systems and is comprised of over 130,000 individual parts.

Thank you all for your hard work in building this vessel and turning the goals of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy into reality!

For many Canadians, Coast Guard ships clad in their distinctive red, represent safety and security. For others, they are a reminder of Canada’s vast coastline, the longest in the world, and our responsibility as stewards of our precious coastal resources.

Our shipbuilding strategy is about ensuring the women and men of the Canada Coast Guard and the Canadian Armed Forces get the equipment they need to do their jobs.

Commissioner Hutchinson will speak more fully to this, but I am confident this handsome ship is equipped to fulfil its important scientific mandate admirably.

This ship also embodies the other goals of the shipbuilding strategy, which are to build shipbuilding capacity here at home and to do so with Canadian workers.

Vancouver Shipyards is building vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard and non-combat support ships for the Royal Canadian Navy.

Since 2012, the Government has awarded $983 million for large ship construction and another $14 million for repair, refit and maintenance contracts to Vancouver Shipyards to advance a made-in-Canada shipbuilding program.

To date:

  • Another two Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels are currently under construction.
  • Build contract negotiations are underway for the next classes of ships: the Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel for the Canadian Coast Guard and the Joint Support Ships for the Royal Canadian Navy.

All of this activity has and will continue to generate increased opportunities for small and medium enterprises and for Indigenous companies, as well as training opportunities for Canadians.

As a result of its work under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, this shipyard has awarded over $540 million in contracts more than 440 Canadian companies. Canadian small and medium sized enterprises have benefitted significantly from contracts issued by Seaspan, with over $470 million awarded to date.

In meeting its contractual commitments to the Government of Canada, Seaspan has also invested to provide opportunities for women, Indigenous Peoples and others who want to participate in this renewal of the marine industry in Canada.

These include investments for the training of Indigenous People at the British Columbia Institute of Technology;

To support women in trades at Camosun College;

And for new welding equipment and teacher professional development through the Canadian Welding Association Foundation.

Investments were also made in support of teaching and research at the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering programs at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Applied Science.

This is important because ensuring that students acquire the skills and knowledge they need to design and build magnificent vessels like this one is absolutely critical to developing a viable, sustainable shipbuilding industry in Canada.

On a broader level, ensuring that our young people of every background get the right education and training is critical to Canadian innovation, productivity and prosperity, and all of these programs take us closer to meeting this goal.

The Strategy is enhancing economic opportunities for the Canadian marine sector and the related industries, and bringing jobs and prosperity from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Overall, it is estimated that roughly 7,350 jobs per year, on average, will be created or maintained under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

Before I conclude, I want to share some more progress on the National Shipbuilding Strategy as a whole.

We are making progress on replacing the fleet of Search and Rescue (SAR) lifeboats. Earlier this week, the first new lifeboat was delivered to the Atlantic Region. There are 11 more to come, which will bolster SAR capacity in our regions.

Today at Irving Shipbuilding Inc. in Halifax, mega-block 3 of the first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, the future HMCS Harry DeWolf, will move outside where it will be joined to the first two mega-blocks to make up the entire vessel.

And in the next couple of weeks, steel will be cut on the third Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, marking another significant milestone.

All of this means that the Strategy is doing what we want it to: equipping our Navy and Coast Guard, creating and sustaining jobs and learning opportunities for Canadians, and re-invigorating a world-class shipbuilding industry here in Canada.

My colleague, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, could not be with us today but he asked me to convey on his behalf, his heartfelt congratulations as we launch the first Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel.

As a Member of Parliament from Vancouver, I am so proud to be here today. I am truly impressed with this shipyard, the progress to date, and the effective relationship shared by the Government of Canada and Vancouver Shipyards. Working together, let’s keep the momentum going!

Thank you again, all of you, for your hard work, and congratulations on this auspicious day!


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