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

MacDuff’s Call: A fond memory, of an old-school teacher

A new year starts in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Flames lose first game of new season

Maple Ridge junior Bs host White Rock Whalers Friday night

Maple Ridge Bears group hosts public forum Monday

Critical time to keep bears away from human conflict

Signs of recovery in real estate industry

Buyers lining up in Maple Ridge, summer sales close to normal

Maple Ridge homeless camp closes, works starts on park: city

Tent city residents in supportive housing

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Vancouver’s Tristan Connelly shocks the UFC world

Late replacement upsets big favourite Pereira, main event sees Gaethje stop Cerrone in round one

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Newcomer Ferland lines up with sniper Pettersson as Vancouver Canucks camp opens

Ferland provides more depth and a scoring threat up front, Pettersson says

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

Professor Paul Evans says he served on Cameron Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee

B.C. company gets licence to test psychedelic drugs for therapy treatment

Salvation Botanicals interested in manufacturing, testing and research and development

B.C. police watchdog to investigate man’s head injury during RCMP arrest

Suspect fled on a bicycle and fell off when an officer attempted to stop him

‘A real shame’: B.C. MLA says factors behind Tolko mill closing should have been caught

Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson said the industry is in bad shape across the province

Most Read