Big contracts for Pacific Northwest and Canadian shipyards

Two Pacific Northwest shipyards, Dakota Creek Industries, Anacortes, Wash., and Seaspan Shipyards, North Vancouver, British Columbia, snagged big government contracts last week.

OK, Dakota Creek’s is big; Seaspan’s is huge.

DCI, which is currently finishing the second and third ATB tugs of a three-vessel order for Crowley Maritime, will build at least one (and probably two) 240′ research ships for the U.S. Navy. Called the Ocean Class Auxiliary General Purpose Oceanographic Research vessels (AGOR), the boats will be operated by oceanographic researchers Scripps in California and Woods Hole in Massachusetts. Construction will begin in 2012 and the first delivery will be in 2014. The contract for the first ship is about $75 million. When the option is exercised for the second, the total contract will be worth $145 million. The small-town shipyard expects to start rehiring previously laid-off workers next spring and summer.

The Navy job is also good news for three Seattle companies. Guido Perla & Associates created the design and will provide detailed engineering. Markey Machinery will engineer and build the winch package, and Seaport Steel will provide the raw materials.

Dakota Creek and Marinette Marine were the two finalists in the contract competition.

In Vancouver, Seaspan Shipyards was chosen as the prime contractor to build non-combat vessels in Canada’s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, a $33 billion program to build a new fleet of vessels for the Canadian navy and coast guard. Seaspan’s share is about $8 billion, with which it will build up to 17 vessels, including a new icebreaker.

Irving Shipyardbuilding, Halifax, Nova Scotia, will build the new combat vessels for an estimated $25 billion. These will include Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships.

Canada is about to invest very heavily in Arctic marine equipment.

Seaspan says the award will create about 4,000 jobs over the next eight years. The company will also invest over $150 million in shipyard infrastructure in both North Vancouver and Victoria.

Who says governments don’t create jobs?

About the author

Bruce Buls

With a degree in English literature from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!), journalism experience at the once-upon-a-time Seattle P-I, and at-sea experience as a commercial fisherman in Washington and Alaska, Bruce Buls has forged a career in commercial marine trade journalism, including stints at Alaska Fishermen’s Journal and National Fisherman, WorkBoat’s sister publications. Bruce spent 16 years as WorkBoat's technical editor before retiring in May 2015. He lives on Puget Sound’s Whidbey Island, about 20 miles north of Seattle (go 'Hawks!).

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