DND News

Industry dismayed by possibility of foreign-built tugboats

Canada's shipbuilding industry is concerned over recent reports that the Canadian government may lease foreign-built smaller boats rather than build replacement tugs and fireboats for the Royal Canadian Navy at home.

A month ago, Public Services and Procurement Canada confirmed that the small tugs and fireboats required by the Department of National Defence in future will not necessarily have to be Canadian-made.

"Canada's shipbuilding and maritime industry is fully capable of supplying all of Canada's shipbuilding needs," said former vice-Admiral Peter William Cairns, President of the Canadian Shipbuilding Association.  "In the current economic climate, when the priority should be to put Canadians back to work, the Canadian government mustn't use Canadian tax dollars to support foreign shipyards," Mr. Cairns stated.

Under the previous government's National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, Canada's smaller shipyards were supposed to build small vessels, like tugboats. "While everyone agrees that major reforms are needed to ensure that the government gets the type and number of ships it needs at a reasonable price and on time, buying foreign-built ships does nothing to help build a strong Canadian maritime industry and puts Canadian jobs at risk," he added. 

The Shipbuilding Association of Canada represents Canadian shipyards, marine equipment suppliers, commercial ship operators, ship designers, marine engineering firms and major marine defense industry suppliers and has been representing the marine industry in Canada for over 25 years.