Dozens of jobs in HRM could be lost if Irving Shipbuilding forges ahead with a plan to purchase parts internationally for the Arctic and Offshore Patrol (AOPS) vessels they are currently building. Director of Communications Sean lewis says they've launched a pilot program to determine the difference in cost between assembling pipes themselves, or buying them fully made from overseas.
According to Global News, Lewis shared their belief that they would see significant savings but did not provide any numbers to back up that assertion. He explained currently, they buy and ship the various parts required to Marine Fabricators based in Dartmouth and assemble them there, but that comes with significant shipping, handling, and storage costs they hope to reduce.
He confirmed 30 to 40 jobs at the Marine Fabricators facility are at risk since they are responsible for the work possibly being outsourced to an as yet unnamed foreign company.
Lewis promised all impacted workers would be offered positions at the Halifax Shipyard, while Marine Fabricators would continue to employ about 50 shipbuilders preparing and cutting steel plates.
There are 17,000 pipe assemblies in each vessel, and the various parts to build them all are shipped to Dartmouth, but now, Irving Shipbuilding is seeking to buy them already built from outside the country.
This news about layoffs comes after the federal government announced in May of this year they would be buying two more the AOPS vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard - a decision in part designed to prevent any job losses during shipbuilding downtime.
Lewis said any work done outside the country would be offset by investing in Canada to ensure one hundred per cent of the contract value was spent in this country - but didn't provide any details as to when and how they would do so.