By Amy Woolvett
THE COAST GUARD
Just weeks after its official reopening, Shelburne Ship Repair is again a busy spot with $2.4-million in refit work being done on two vessels for the Canadian navy and Coast Guard.
It has been two years since workers of Irving owned Shelburne Ship Repair were able to work on ships.
It is expected that all of the 52 unionized workers will be needed and the work is expected to take up to 10 weeks to complete.
The Sechelt is a Navy diving tender 109 feet in length, weighing 254 tons. The second vessel is the CCGS Earl Grey, a 1050 class Coast Guard vessel, 230 feet long and weighing 3000 tons.
The contracts are for a refit and dry-docking for an estimated 10-week period and covers mechanical, hull, electrical, operations work and sand blasting and painting.
While the new facilities have put the Shelburne Ship Repair in the largest of its class, these recent contracts are nothing new for the company.
“This is the same type of work we’ve done for years,” said Danny Branscombe, president of Local 9 of the Canadian Auto Marine Workers Federation. “The work that has been done to the site isn’t a big part of winning the contracts; we have always done this type of military ships.”
He said that the upgraded facilities won’t hurt their chances of winning future contracts.
“We do good work and now with everything upgraded we have even better chances of getting more work.”
“In this type of business there will always be ups and downs but hopefully we will be able to get more jobs consistently with the brand new facility…this is a start.”
He said that while the Shelburne Ship Repair has been upgrading its site many of the employees were hard at building the $16.6-million renovation building its marine railway.
The new marine railway is able to hold ships as large as 122 metres long with two ships at a time.
“We did the upgrade ourselves,” said Branscombe. “And assembled it ourselves onsite.”
That included working underwater to build the 500 feet of tracking necessary to complete the marine railway.
Despite the fact that many of the Shelburne Ship Repair workers kept busy while upgrading the facility, the crews look forward to starting work on the new contracts.
“It will be good to be working on boats again,” said Branscombe.