Industry News, DND News

MND comments on JSS design and engineering contract

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan today made the following comments during the announcement of the contract award to Seaspan Shipyards for design and engineering of the new joint support ships for the Royal Canadian Navy:

Today’s news means so much to our community, both here in Vancouver and across the broader Canadian Armed Forces.

Soon, our Navy will not need to rely on partners and allies to resupply at sea. Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to ready, reliable, independent access to supplies, wherever our vessels are in the world.

Today we are one step closer to the construction of two Joint Support Ships. These ships will bring fuel, food, water, ammunition and spare parts to deployed Canadian and allied vessels. They will transport cargo in support of land operations and increase the range, flexibility and endurance of our Navy. They will enable us to act independently in the defence of our country.

I am thrilled we are working with a company like Seaspan to make those Joint Support Ships production-ready. Seaspan will detail the manufacturing specifications, obtain the regulatory approvals, and develop the strategies necessary to test, trial and build ships that are ready to set sail in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Seaspan’s job is to do all this while driving down costs to ensure these ships can be built at a reasonable price.

The Government of Canada is investing $230 million to finalize the design and complete the pre-production work. That is $230 million toward our larger investment in the Joint Support Ship project; $230 million toward our broader National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The Strategy, as many of you know, has three goals. One: to renew our federal surface fleet. Two: to reclaim our status as a major shipbuilding country. Three: to support technological innovation and bring jobs to Canadians.

Goal number one is well in hand. The Joint Support Ships will be strategic assets to Canada’s surface fleet.

They will have medical and dental care facilities for troops. They will have repair facilities for helicopters and other equipment. They will have cargo capacity for payloads such as disaster relief supplies and portable headquarters for operations.

In short, they will have the capabilities necessary to support our sailors — and naval Task Forces — at sea around the world.

The accomplishment of goal number two is in Seaspan’s hands and I know that over the next two years of design and cost containment — and over the three years of construction to follow — you will do Canada proud. You will help revitalize our marine industry, and you will demonstrate to the world that we are a great shipbuilding country.

I look forward to seeing your 3-D model of the Joint Support Ships in the months ahead.

We can already put a checkmark next to goal number three. To date, Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards have awarded more than $151 million in contracts to more than 320 companies across the country. These numbers will only continue to rise. That is an investment into well-paying, middle class jobs for hardworking Canadians. I am proud that we are able not only to redevelop Canada’s Navy, but we can do so in a way that develops our domestic shipbuilding industry. When the Canadian Armed Forces thrives, Canada thrives.