Fednav proposal on three ice-breakers for Canadian Coast Guard
Due to the drastic deterioration in recent years of the Canadian Coast Guard's icebreaker fleet, Montreal-based Fednav Ltd. proposed to the federal government to take charge of the construction of three icebreakers in a Norwegian shipyard that could be delivered in 24 months. In a televised interview carried on June 27 on the French-language Radio-Canada network, Fednav President Paul Pathy revealed the offer was made a year and half ago - but no reply had yet been received.
Under the proposal, Fednav would finance the whole operation and assume the design and construction risks. While remaining owner of the vessels, Fednav would lease them to the CCG for 15 years. Cost of each icebreaker built at Norway's Havyard shipyard would be about $240 million.
"I am disappointed not to have received a reply," Mr. Pathy told Radio-Canada. "If I receive a call from the Prime Minister, I push on the button and in two years we have new and modern icebreakers."
During the interview, Mr. Pathy stressed the advantages of having the icebreakers built in Norway as opposed to Canada. In addition to being ready in 24 months, their costs would be two times cheaper than icebreakers built in a Canadian shipyard.
In the past few years, not only has there been a long delay in the start-up of construction of a planned polar icebreaker, the current aging working Coast Guard fleet has been beset by mounting mechanical problems that have impacted on commercial shipping and caused the cancellation of Arctic research voyages.
With a fleet of more than 100 vessels, Fednav is Canada's largest ocean-going dry bulk shipping company. It is the leading international carrier on the Great Lakes and biggest provider of shipping services to mining operations in the Canadian Arctic. (Photo is artist rendering of proposed icebreaker design)