Seaspan celebrates return of cruise ship activity

by | 28th July 2023 | Shiprepair & Maintenance - News, Shiprepair

Home News Seaspan celebrates return of cruise ship activity

Regent Seven Seas Explorer made its inaugural visit to Seaspan's Victoria Shipyard in May

Canadian shipyard operator’s prospects are improving rapidly following the resumption of regional cruise operations

With the return of regional cruise operations post-pandemic, both Vancouver Drydock and Victoria Shipyards have had the opportunity to work on several cruise ships over the last 18 months.

Four cruise ships docked at Vancouver Drydock in 2022. The first of these was Hurtigruten Expedition’s Roald Amundsen which was docked for general maintenance work, including minor steel modifications and a new coat of paint for the underwater hull. Then over the summer months three cruise ships, the Seven Seas Mariner, National Geographic Resolution and Regatta, stopped by in quick succession. Two of the cruise ships were worked on simultaneously, a first for the yard.

For Seaspan’s Victoria Shipyards, cruise ship visitors in 2022 included Le Commandant Charcot, an ice-breaking cruise vessel operated by Ponant, which arrived last autumn for a wet berth maintenance period.

The positive trends seen last year have continued into 2023, with a number of passenger ships, including cruise liners, being worked on by Seaspan yards over the first six months of the year. Most notably, the Regent Seven Seas Explorer was docked in Victoria in May, marking the first time that Regent Seven Seas had used the yard. The scope of work undertaken included hull preparation and painting, a stabiliser overhaul, thruster and valve inspections, as well as logistics support, all with a very quick turnaround before heading back out for its summer cruise schedule. Significantly this was the first cruise ship to drydock at Victoria Shipyards since before the pandemic and is considered to mark the encouraging start of things to come.

Seaspan’s Vancouver yard has continued to handle a number of cruise ferries and passenger vessels, including BC Ferries’ Northern Expedition, which takes passengers to Haida Gwaii, and Coastal Celebration. The Vancouver team has also been hard at work completing repair, refit and maintenance projects on various other types of vessels, including a dredger and several barges. As a result, Vancouver Drydock is said to be running at near full capacity in terms of commercial repair and refit projects and the company anticipates this level of activity will continue for the foreseeable future. At Victoria Shipyards, with the return of cruise ships and other commercial vessels, Seaspan is also busy with commercial repair and refit work.

A spokesperson for Seaspan says: “The return of cruise ships in British Columbia certainly helps to bolster our optimism for the continued upturn of regular work through both of our repair and refit yards. We also now have use of an expanded drydock at our Victoria yard, which is located in the Government of Canada’s Esquimalt Graving Dock, and this allowed us to hold both the Regent Seven Seas Explorer and Royal Canadian Navy frigates in drydock simultaneously. We hope to make good use of this extension going forward.”

Seaspan is also currently awaiting a decision from the Port of Vancouver on its proposal to extend its Vancouver Drydock facilities, adding two new smaller floating drydocks and a work pontoon to the existing yard. The company says it expects to receive a decision from the port soon, allowing the yard to expand capacity, increasing the number of projects it can take on at any one time, a development that would have positive implications for its cruise ship repair and refit activities.

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