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Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels

The Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels will provide an important platform from which scientific research and ecosystem-based management can be performed. These floating laboratories will contribute to Canada’s stewardship of fishery and ocean resources. These vessels will replace the aging CCGS Teleost, CCGS Alfred Needler and CCGS W.E. Ricker on Canada's west and east coasts.

The Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels are part of the Fisheries and Oceans Canada/Canadian Coast Guard Fleet Renewal Program. And they are the first project for the non-combat work package under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. The Government of Canada and Seaspan Shipyards have reached an agreement in principle that will see the construction and delivery of three Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels.

The Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel project is the first to be built at Seaspan Shipyards in the non-combat package announced under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy in 2010.

These new science trawlers will be operated by the Coast Guard and used by the scientists in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to conduct trawl and acoustic surveys of fish and invertebrates in Canadian waters; to collect information on the distribution, abundance and biology of species to be used in stock assessments for new and existing fisheries; and to collect data to monitor changes in marine ecosystems and any impacts on fisheries resources and ecosystem health.

They will be able to fish in deeper waters than current vessels, operate in the southern Arctic during the summer season, and provide modern marine laboratories to our Fisheries and Oceans scientists. Like all Coast Guard ships, they will respond to emergencies such as Search and Rescue cases.

In October 2014, work began at Seaspan Shipyards on the two initial blocks of the Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels. These two first blocks allowed the shipyard to test production capabilities and equipment in a shipyard that has received significant infrastructure upgrades aimed at better delivering the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy program, before moving to full rate production. Seaspan had already procured the majority of the equipment and material for the first ship.

The Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel (OFSV) construction engineering contract was awarded in February 2013. The Canadian Coast Guard has been working with Seaspan since then to complete the engineering of the OFSVs. This is the first large ship the Coast Guard had undertaken in almost a generation. Each block of the OFSV will have its engineering and design fully completed before construction begins. This has been our approach from the outset—design, then build.

The original OFSV budget of $244 million was developed in 2004. It did not contain adequate provision for inflation, project management, engineering and design costs, and did not properly include contingencies required for a project of this magnitude. The current budget is based on detailed cost estimates provided by the shipyard. Seaspan Shipyards committed to deliver three OFSV ships at a total ceiling price of $514 million. This amount includes two previously awarded contracts. A $54 million contract for the Long Lead Items. And a $4 million contract for the Initial Block.

  • Project status: Build phase. Build Contract awarded in June 2015.
  • Number of vessels to be built: 3
  • Built at: Vancouver Shipyards
  • Built for: Canadian Coast Guard
  • Project budget: Set in 2007, approximately $687 million (updated in 2015)
  • Build contract value: $466 million
  • First vessel to be delivered: 2017
  • Progress: As at December 31, 2015, the shipyard was approximately 13 weeks behind on a 93-week construction schedule for the first Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel, which represents a 14% delay. The project is on budget and delivery of the first vessel is expected in 2017.

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Page last modified: 03-08-2018 12:09:53 ZULU