The Western Canadian Shipbuilding Action Plan

by Chuck Black

It’s only a little over two years old, but Western Canada’s Shipbuilding Action plan, a program, announced with much fanfare by federal minister Lynne Yelich in February 2012 to bring together key stakeholders involved with the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) with western Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises to share potential opportunities, is already starting to reap dividends.

smallWartsila 26 engine

In January 2013, this Wärtsilä 26 medium speed diesel engine was donated to the Industrial Marine Training and Applied Research Center (IMTARC) in Victoria, BC. by Wärtsilä, a worldwide leader in lifecycle power solutions for the marine and energy markets.

The first step in moving the plan forward was the Western Canadian Shipbuilding Summit, which was hosted by Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) and Seaspan Marine Corporation and held on May 23, 2012 in Vancouver.

This was followed up by the January 22nd, 2013 announcement by minister Yelich that the Federal government would be providing  $2.56 million in federal funding for the Marine, Aerospace, and Resource Industry Centre for Training and Technology Support (MARCenTTS) at Camosun College’s new Trades Education & Innovation facility.

This new funding supported an earlier $30Mln CDN provided by the BC provincial government to expand the trades training centre at Camosun’s Interurban campus.

According to the January 22nd, 2013 Times Colonist article, “Victoria shipbuilding industry takes significant training turn,” the additional facilities are expected to add 43o graduates over the next five years to the 2,000 marine workers now available on the south island.

Minister Yelich

Minister Lynne Yelich announcing Western Canada’s Shipbuilding Action Plan in Esquimalt, BC in January 2012. Photo c/o Western Economic Diversification Canada.

To support this new funding, Swedish based Wärtsilä (a company specializing in equipment for marine and energy uses), even donated a marine engine (worth about $620,000 CDN) of the type normally used for a variety of vessels including tugs, research ships, navy and coast guard vessels to Camosun for student training.

As outlined in the January 21st, 2013 BC Shipping News article, “Wärtsilä donates engine to Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia,” the engine “represents the latest in engine technology advances… The six cylinder engine has a 1950 kW output at 900 rpm, a 260 mm diameter cylinder bore, and a 320 mm piston stroke.”

According to the Federal government, the plan is expected to create 4,000 jobs on the West Coast plus produce a range of economic opportunities for local small- and medium- sized businesses across Western Canada.

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