March 11, 2016 8:28 pm

Federal government won’t entertain Davie Shipyard bid to build coast guard ships

WATCH ABOVE: The Canadian Press reports an unsolicited bid by Quebec-based Davie Shipyard was submitted to the government last month. The Nova Scotia connection is the Halifax Shipyard, and the fear that something like this could potentially threaten the current contract with Irving Shipbuilding. Global's Steve Silva reports.

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The federal government confirmed Friday it will not entertain a bid submitted by a Quebec-based shipbuilding company last month to provide ships to the coast guard.

“The government is committed to a National Shipbuilding Strategy which adheres to an established and competitive procurement process. There are currently no requests for proposals for‎ icebreakers and multi-purpose ships for the Coast Guard,” said Judy Foote, minister of public services and procurement, in an emailed statement.

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There are and will be other other opportunities for other shipyards under the strategy, she added.

Earlier in the week, The Canadian Press reported that Chantier Davie Shipyard sent a bid to the government offering to build ships.

The proposal has the potential to undercut one pillar of the national shipbuilding strategy, which delegates the construction of civilian ships to Vancouver’s Seaspan shipyard.

The concern in Nova Scotia is that this could threaten Irving Shipbuilding‘s $25 billion contract for combat ships.

“I don’t know much about the detail, but I fully expect work that has already been awarded to the yards to be done in those yards,” said Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil on Thursday.

“I think it’s outrageous for anybody to just throw in on an ad hoc basis unsolicited proposals,” said Halifax Mayor Mike Savage. “This is a big deal, and it came about in the right way. So let’s not make something that was so good be tainted by destroying a process that had so much integrity.”

He said Irving was picked fairly and that the contract should be honoured.

The first ship in the company’s deal is already under construction.

“We take very seriously a shipyard who lost a national competition, coming in and trying to threaten a really sound strategy,” said Kevin McCoy, president of Irving. “We’re not going to let somebody come in at the eleventh hour and say, ‘Well, I can do it better,’ when we know they can’t.”

In an emailed statement sent past broadcast deadline, Alex Vicefield, director of Davie, said the proposal was submitted for new classes of ships outside of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS).

He said there are two offshore multipurpose vessels that are 40 and 70 per cent complete and could be bought for “a very attractive price” because the original buyer went into bankruptcy. There are also small icebreakers, and a polar icebreaker available.

When asked if Davie will go after the aforementioned Irving deal, Vicefield said it was not.

“No. We don’t understand the comments purportedly made by Halifax and Nova Scotia officials,” Vicefield said in a statement. “This has nothing to do with the NSPS or contracts which Irving Shipbuilding are hoping to get in Nova Scotia related to the [Arctic/offshore patrol ship] and surface combatants. Our proposal relates to ships for the Canadian Coast Guard outside of the NSPS packages. It seems someone has been feeding false information to them.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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