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New schedule will shave months off construction of navy support vessel: Shipyard

A Seaspan Vancouver Shipyards worker stands on a barge under construction during a party in celebration of the company being awarded an $8-billion federal shipbuilding contract in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 2, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

OTTAWA — The Vancouver shipyard building the navy’s new support ships says the decision to push one of those vessels to the front of the construction queue will shave months, rather than years, off its expected delivered date.

The federal government revealed this week that Seaspan Marine will finish work on the first support ship before turning to a new oceanographic science vessel for the coast guard, which was originally slated to be built first.

Seaspan vice-president of government relations Tim Page tells The Canadian Press that design work on the coast guard ship is taking longer than expected and changing the schedule will save money and time in the long run.

But anyone expecting the support ship to be delivered overnight will be disappointed as Page says the shipyard’s new schedule has it hitting the water in 2022, at which point it will still need to undergo testing at sea.

Prior to the new schedule, the Defence Department’s head of procurement said he expected the vessel to be delivered and ready for naval operations by mid-2023.

As for the coast guard’s new science ship, Page says the time gained by pushing it back in the queue will be used to perfect its design and ensure taxpayers get full value for money.

The Canadian Press