Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

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OTTAWA — The federal government is adding a second heavy icebreaker to its long-term plans for the Canadian Coast Guard.

The move announced today is sure to please the shipyards in Vancouver and Quebec that have been fighting tooth and nail for what at the time was only one such vessel.

Seaspan Shipyards and Chantier Davie will instead be given one ship each to build over the next decade, with the aim of having both in the water by 2032.

Yet while the decision to split the work is likely to end the at times bitter battle between Seaspan and Davie, it will almost certainly come with a hefty price tag.

The federal government has previously emphasized the savings that come with one shipyard working on multiple models of the same vessel, with the first vessel in a class costing much more and taking much longer than those that follow.

Senior civil servants refused to provide a cost estimate for the two icebreakers during a background briefing, and said the decision to give one to each of the yards was driven by a need to finish those ships before the Coast Guard's existing heavy icebreakers are officially retired.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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