Seaspan looks to build on strong ship repair performance

by | 14th February 2024 | Shiprepair, Shiprepair & Maintenance - News

Home News Seaspan looks to build on strong ship repair performance

A major program of work is currently underway on the coast guard vessel Sir Wilfrid Laurier

A big investment project is now underway to boost capacity at Vancouver Drydock

The Canadian Seaspan Shipyards group enjoyed a strong final quarter of 2023, handling a wide range for vessel types, including cruise ships, naval vessels and barges.

The Vancouver Drydock completed blast and paint work and installed a new ballast water treatment system (BWTS) onboard the ATB-65-10 barge and the tug Vision, which visited between September and October last year. This was the first installation of a BWTS at the yard for several years and the company says the project was completed smoothly as a result of a significant amount of pre-fabrication and pipework.

Other recent visitors included the BC Ferries’ Queen of Cowichan, which stopped for blast and paint repairs and mechanical work over a month-long stay during November and December. The Vancouver yard also welcomed two Canadian Coast Guard vessels, CCGS Sir John Franklin and CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier. The latter is currently in the yard for an extensive project due to be completed this April. The work scope includes the replacement of three 42tonne engines, alongside general repairs, hull blasting and paint work.

Looking ahead to March this year, the Vancouver Drydock team is planning for the arrival of an unusual 400ft (121.9m) long vessel, Hannah, for blasting and paint work. Owned by Northline Seafoods, this is the first floating salmon processing plant in North America.

Overall in 2023 Vancouver Drydock completed a total of 37 ship repair and maintenance projects, with a wider range of vessels than in 2022, and an “exceptionally high’’ drydock occupancy rate. “Although the number of vessels at the yard was similar to that recorded in 2022 and 2023, the nature of the projects evolved towards more comprehensive vessel life extensions and highly specialised repairs,” says Paul Hebson, vice president and general manager.

Highlighting that trend was a notable project carried out in the first half of 2023 at Vancouver Drydock, involving the dredger FRPD-309. The team at the yard focused on steel repairs, replacing and repairing the bottom hatches, and replacing several hopper bulkheads in the tanks, as well as some minor mechanical work on the propeller hub and propeller blades. “This was the first time this uniquely complex vessel had visited the dock for planned maintenance,” notes Hebson. “Collaboration between our welders, mechanics and pipe fitters made the month-long project a success.”

Another yard in the group, Victoria Shipyards, received two large cruise vessels towards the end of 2023, Disney Wonder and Carnival Panorama. The second of these arrived in November to have its funnel removed and returned a few weeks later for it to be reinstalled. The vessel had been booked into another yard, in Portland, Oregon, but was too high to pass under one of the bridges on the way. The vessel was rerouted to Victoria, to lower its overall height, before returning for the funnel’s restoration.

Buoyed by strong performance over the past few years, Seaspan is making some significant investments in infrastructure at the Vancouver Drydock, to help better serve the needs of customers in the Pacific Northwest. This includes a drydock expansion that will include two new floating drydocks, a new operations building and an upgrade and extension of the current careen deck to enhance its capabilities. The company received the necessary approvals from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) in October last year. Construction work is now underway and the facilities are expected to be completed by late 2024.

The expansion of the yard, which comes in response to Vancouver Drydock operating at, or near, capacity for several years, is expected to increase Seaspan’s capacity for ship repair projects by about 30%. The investment project includes extending Seaspan’s water lot by 40m and the addition of the two new, smaller drydocks and a floating work pontoon to the west of the two existing drydocks.

“With significant projects such as the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier already underway and ongoing developments in the expansion of the yard, there is anticipation that the positive trend for Vancouver Drydock observed in 2023 will continue in to 2024, and beyond into 2025. As a high tempo repair and maintenance yard, our skilled teams look forward to continuing to serve vessels operating in and around the Pacific Northwest region in particular,” Hebson concludes.


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