Ocean Pacific Marine, a Campbell River-based ship building company, has been awarded a $23.4 million federal contract to renew a set of Coast Guard motor lifeboats.
Four companies across Canada were awarded contracts totalling $77 million to extend the life of the Canadian Coast Guard’s fleet of 36 Cape Class lifeboats, as announced in a Dec. 9 news release from Public Services and Procurement Canada. These vessels, which are 14.6 metres long and powered by twin diesel engines, are used for search-and-rescue and environmental response missions.
Ocean Pacific Marine will perform refits on 13 of these vessels over the next seven years. All work will be completed in Campbell River, using staff and local contractors. The project has allowed the company to increase its staff, which now totals 46 full-time, year-round employees.
“We are very excited to bring a project of this scale to Campbell River,” said Bruce Kempling, Ocean Pacific Marine president. “The first boat has arrived in the yard and we are actively working on it.”
The required work is necessary to maintain the operational capability of the vessels and to ensure their reliable operation for a minimum of 15 years, per the release. The three other contracts are being conducted by companies in Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, respectively.
Cape Class vessels are designed to operate in severe weather and are frequently based in remote locations. However, one of the boats in the Pacific region is the CCGS Cape Palmerston, which is based in Campbell River.
This life extension work is necessary for the boats to maintain operational capability and ensure their safe and reliable operation for a minimum of 15 years. Some of the tasks required include replacement of the propulsion system, hull repairs, and various system renewals.
These upgrades, part of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, are necessary for Coast Guard members to have modern equipment with which to operate. They will also help Canada’s marine industry, create jobs, and generate socio-economic benefits, according to the press release.