June 18, 2015 12:22 pm
Updated: June 18, 2015 5:35 pm

Halifax Shipyard cuts steel for first Arctic Patrol Ship

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WATCH: It’s been nearly four years since the Irving-owned Halifax Shipyard was awarded a $25 billion dollar contract to build the next generation of Canadian combat ships. A lot has happened over the last few years, as work to start production on the ships ramp up. As Global’s Natasha Pace reports, today another milestone was reached.

Halifax — It’s a moment that’s been years in the making.

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The first piece of steel for the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships was officially cut this morning Marine Fabricators in Dartmouth. The steel will be used to help workers form a test module.

“These test modules will help Irving Shipbuilding test new processes, get personnel familiar with the equipment, and streamline production,” said Diane Finley, Minister of Public Works for Canada.

The steel cut today won’t just be used in the test module, it will also become part of the very first patrol ship to be built.

The President of Irving Shipbuilding said he’s been asked repeatedly when work on the ships will begin. “I stand here today proudly to inform you that after years of hard work by dedicated people, today is the day,” said Kevin McCoy.

The cutting of the first piece of steel is considered a milestone, but it wasn’t an easy process to get to this point.

In October of 2011, the Irving-owned Halifax Shipyard was awarded a $25 billion dollar contract to build the next fleet of combat ships for the Canadian Navy. Since then, there’s been a lot of work put into the shipyard ahead of construction, scheduled to begin this fall.

“Over the last three years, Irving Shipbuilding has planned, demolished, reconfigured, and rebuilt the Halifax Shipyard and modernized and expanded this facility in Dartmouth,” said Minister Finley.

The new Marine Fabricator building in Dartmouth boasts the best shipbuilding technology available, including some machines that are the first of their kind in Canada.

“It’s remarkable to see how much has been accomplished since October of 2011, when Irving Shipyards was selected to build the next Canadian Navy,” said Scott Armstrong, MP for Cumberland-Colechester-Musquodobit Valley.

Irving is currently looking to fill 200 positions, many of them ironworkers, pipefitters and welders.

The company held a job fair in Dartmouth earlier this week, with more than 600 people showing up.

Construction of the new Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships is still on schedule to get underway in September.

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