Coast Guard has put out tenders for designs of midshore patrol boats and offshore science vessels, with plans to begin building soon.
The Navy has announced 3 supply type ships to be built.
Now it is announced that the Deep Panuke natural gas reserve, off of the NS coast, will be started with up to 5 rigs to be built.
While this all is certainly good news for the shipbuilding industry, I can't help but wonder where all of the work force is going to come from and what implications it will have on ship repair of the existing Canadian fleets.
It is a fact that a lot of Maritime workers are heading west to the milk and honey land of Alberta oil. There are only so many docks for ships on the East Coast, and with Quebec, Newfoundland and Maritimes CG fleets, Navy and Commercial fleets all requiring to be docked, as the new builds go on, it will require a lot of forward planning by all concerned.
Instead of these splurges of building, the Government should consider a program of rolling out new ships every few years. It is more sustainable, ensures that fleets are replaced in timely manner instead of maintaining aging hulls and keeps an experienced ship building force in the yards and new young people coming in to the industry. This can only be good for the Maritimes who are definitely losing the best and brightest west.
At the recent Canadian Institute of Marine Engineers Maritech in Halifax, this very topic raised a lot of debate between Coast Guard, Navy and the Shipbuilding Association of Canada ( http://www.shipbuilding.ca/home.shtml) with excellent points being raised by all.