Seaspan’s Victoria Shipyards operates within the federally-owned Esquimalt Graving Dock, the largest solid bottom commercial drydock on the West Coast of the Americas. (Seaspan)

Vancouver shipyard used one new coast guard vessel to repair, deliver another

The government expects to receive the second and third vessels in late 2019 and summer 2020

A Vancouver shipyard delivered the first of the Canadian Coast Guard’s three new science vessels last week by cannibalizing parts from one of the other ships for repairs, new documents show.

The repairs by Seaspan Shipyards followed the CCGS Sir John Franklin’s collision with the Ogden Point breakwater near Victoria in March, which damaged its rudder and main propeller shaft.

The vessel, which will be used by federal scientists to conduct research on fish stocks, was returning from its first day of sea trials when the collision occurred and there were fears the incident would further delay its delivery.

The coast guard was to take ownership of the vessel in 2017 but that was before welding defects were discovered, forcing it back in for more work.

The three science vessels together are to cost $687 million.

Internal emails obtained by The Canadian Press through access-to-information law show senior coast guard officials scrambling for answers after the collision, whose cause still has not been revealed.

Pictures taken by a bystander and circulated by Canadian Coast Guard commissioner Jeffery Hutchsinson, deputy commissioner Andy Smith and others showed a large dent in the Franklin.

A few weeks later, Smith emailed Hutchinson and Timothy Sargent, the top bureaucrat in the federal Fisheries Department, with an update that the Franklin’s rudder and propeller shaft were “twisted.”

The solution? Seaspan planned to use parts from the third science vessel, the CCGS John Cabot, to fix the Franklin and get it back in the water, Smith reported.

“Ship 3 will be the donor patient to get Franklin to sea in immediate term,” Smith wrote. “Will have to source replacement parts for ship 3 in due course.”

Seaspan Shipyards officially handed the Franklin over to the coast guard in a ceremony on June 27 that included Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and dozens of coast guard and industry officials.

It is the first vessel delivered under the federal government’s multibillion-dollar shipbuilding plan, which was launched in 2011.

The government has said it expects to receive the second and third so-called offshore fisheries science vessels, the CCGS Capt. Jacques Cartier and the Cabot, in late 2019 and summer 2020, respectively.

Seaspan has also been tapped to build the navy’s two new support ships as well as 16 “multipurpose vessels” for the coast guard. Construction is largely sequential, meaning a delay in the fisheries vessels could affect the rest.

Seaspan spokesman James Mitchell said the decision to use parts from the Cabot to fix the Franklin would not delay delivery of the third vessel, saying it would be handed over “as per the agreed schedule and contract requirements.”

Mitchell did not say how Seaspan plans to replace the rudder and propeller shaft, but coast guard spokesman Benoit Mayrand said there were “no financial implications” for the government.

Taking existing parts from the Cabot helps explain the surprisingly quick repairs on the Franklin, said Timothy Choi, an expert on shipbuilding at the University of Calgary’s Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies.

“One of the things that would be interesting to know would be just how damaged the original shaft and posts were,” he added in an email. “Could they still be repaired?”

Either way, Choi said the rudder and propeller are often some of the last parts installed on a vessel’s stern section and, because they are vulnerable to damage over a ship’s lifespan, are generally easier to remove and re-install.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Snowfall warning for Kootenay and Paulson passes

Up to 30 cm expected in mountain passes Saturday and Sunday.

Community Futures launches cannabis consultation program

The Cannabis Business Transition Initiative helps businesses move into the legal economy

Moose tests positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in northwest Montana

This is the first time the disease has been detected in the species in Montana

Kootenay Patricks assemble to take on Montreal Canadiens alumni

The charity game takes place Jan. 23 in Nelson

Castlegar woman to appear on Dragons’ Den

Happy Gut sells water kefir beverages and kits to make water kefir at home.

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Dallas Smith, Terri Clark to perform on CP Holiday Train’s B.C. stops

Annual festive food bank fundraiser rolling across province from Dec. 11 to 17

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Most Read