Finally, a little bit of good news about the HST

The much maligned new tax in BC, the HST, is helping somebody in BC ! Surprise, surprise.

The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), which combined the Federal Goods and Services Tax with the Provincial Sales Tax into a blended tax of equal amount, took effect in July. The HST has added considerable cost to our young family, but at least one company, tug operator Seaspan in Vancouver, controlled by US based industrial group, Washington Companies and its founder Dennis Washington, is partly celebrating the tax, in their decision to acquire four new tugs for their operations in Vancouver Harbour. Unfortunately, they will builds the new ships in Turkey, cool for them.

We will see some new iron in the harbour, and at least the designs are from Vancouver based famed tug design house, Robert Allan Limited. Despite having 5,000 horses in each hull, like most tugs in BC, there will probably be no new jobs for engineer types here, sorry fellas. Below is the official press release from Seaspan announcing the new acquisition. Judging by the delivery date, these tugs are well underway, construction wise, or they got one hell of a shipyard over in Turkey - since the delivery is expected within months.

Sanmar in Turkey, is no stranger to Robert Allan designs. The shipyard, much like Seaspan itself, is a tug company operating their own shipyard, which since 1990, has built 70 various small boats and larger tugs for themselves, and customers worldwide. According to their website, nearly all of their tugs were built to a Robert Allan design - some good news!

Pictures of the engine room and bridge of a similar RAstar tug, built by Sanmar, from their website, see more pictures here. Looks like they will be powered by twin Caterpillar 3516 engines, giving a bollard pull of 70 tonnes from twin Rolls Royce (Ulstein) azimuth drives. The vessels will also be built with considerable fire fighting capabilities, in line with their role of escorting and berthing tankers inside Vancouver's harbour. You can view a comparasion sheet of the new tug, versus Seaspan new "flagship" Seaspan Resolution. Click here to read another article about this news.

Seaspan Announces New Tugs for Vancouver Harbour
September 28, 2010

North Vancouver, BC -- Seaspan International is pleased to announce the largest tug build commitment of a single class of vessels in over 35 years.

The company recently signed a contract with Sanmar Denizcilik Shipyard, of Istanbul Turkey; to build four state-of-the-art ship assist tugs.

The prime duties for these tugs will be to dock, undock and escort ships in Vancouver Harbour and Roberts Bank. The RAstar 28 m tugs will feature full fire fighting capability and upon arrival will be amongst the most powerful vessels to sail BC waters. Internationally renowned and Vancouver based naval architects, Robert Allan Ltd., designed the new tugs.

The first vessel is scheduled to arrive by the end of this year; while the remaining three tugs will be delivered in the summer and late fall of 2011.

"We are excited to announce this fleet enhancement to our employees, the BC marine industry and the community at large," said Jonathan Whitworth, Washington Marine Group CEO. "The benefits of a purchase of this type are numerous, including the rebuilding and modernization of our fleet, and increased safety and capabilities for all ship escorts performed in the Vancouver Harbour. As recently reported, the Port has an immediate need for more modern and powerful tugs to assist the growing number of tankers within the Port. Seaspan recognized this growing concern, and I'm extremely pleased to report that we took the necessary steps to assist Port Metro Vancouver and the BC Coast Pilots in providing the solution."

Also, Jonathan notes that the savings created by the Provincial Government's elimination of the PST in favor of the BC HST, which is fully recoverable by businesses, as well as very favorable exchange rates due to devaluation of the Euro, was a "golden opportunity" the company just couldn't pass up. "Because of these two factors alone, we were able to increase the purchase size from an initial three boats to the eventual four boat order."

This announcement cements Seaspan's commitment to the BC marine industry and continues the company's history of leadership in operation of advanced tug designs.

"These new tugs will allow us to continue to serve our customers and the Port community today and well into the future," said Jonathan.

Update Oct 1st, 2010_______

Here's a quick video of Seaspan Resolution, from the Vancouver Sun, its hard to understand the size of the new tugs nowadays just from a two dimensional picture, hope this helps... (click here if the video doesn't work in the window below)

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