Government poised to spend millions replacing Bluenose II steel rudder

Click to play video: 'Price tag for Bluenose II likely to hit $25-Million after rudder replacement' Price tag for Bluenose II likely to hit $25-Million after rudder replacement
WATCH ABOVE: Nova Scotia says the controversial steel rudder on the Bluenose II needs to be replaced because its weight is negatively affecting the ships performance and will shorten the schooner’s life span. The new price tag will likely hit $25-million, but that could go higher. Global’s Legislative Reporter Marieke Walsh explains – Mar 3, 2016

The government of Nova Scotia will be sinking another few million dollars into the Bluenose II, as it’s decided to replace its problematic steel rudder.

The $700,000 custom-built hydraulic steering system was installed on the replica ship in 2014, as part of an extensive rebuild that was announced in 2009.

READ MORE: Steering problems force cancellation of Bluenose II sailings

In a release sent Thursday, the government says they’re accepting recommendations to replace the rudder with a wooden one.

The recommendation comes from a report into the ship’s steering done by Langan Design Partners, which says that the weight of the rudder would shorten the lifespan of the vessel over time, due to its weight.

The Department of Transportation says the 2016 sailing season will take place as planned, with work being done on the vessel next fall and winter.

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Transportation minister Geoff MacLellan stressed in the release that the rudder doesn’t pose a safety issue, so sailing can go ahead.

“The Langan report’s findings are about eventual wear and tear on the vessel. While we can continue to safely operate the ship with the current rudder, we want to move on replacing the rudder now to avoid issues down the road,” he said.

Settlement awarded to Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance

The government also announced it’s settling with Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance, paying the company $5 million — $1.8 million of that has already been given.

“Sixty thousand people enjoyed Bluenose II first-hand last season and we acknowledge the work of the Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance and the role they played in bringing Bluenose II to life,” MacLellan said.

With that settlement, the government says the cost of the Bluenose II restoration project is currently at $23.8 million.

READ MORE: Bluenose II report says poor planning led to delays, increased costs

The government has said the cost of replacing the rudder with a wooden one isn’t expected to push the total cost of the restoration past $25 million — meaning the rudder and its installation should cost the province about $1.2 million.

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Steel rudder caused major troubles

The repairs to the Nova Scotia historical icon, supposed to be complete by 2011, dragged on for six years costing the province millions more than expected. The biggest source of pain has been the rudder, which experts say was too heavy and didn’t complement the construction of the vessel.

READ MORE: Bluenose II ‘boondoggle’ comes to an end after 6 years

By the time the work was finally completed, the cost, which was originally pegged at $14.4 million, had ballooned to nearly $20 million.

The Bluenose II had its official re-launch last summer, however a mere few days later she was tied up again thanks to more complications with the steering.

WATCH: Former sea captain Lou Boudreau sits down with Global News to talk Bluenose II troubles


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