SEPTEMBER 2, 2015 — Hundreds of employees yesterday gathered in the new Assembly Hall at Irving Shipbuilding's Halifax Shipyard in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to celebrate the start of production of the first Arctic Offshore Patrol ship (AOPS) for Canada. Delivery of the first HMCS Harry DeWolf-class ship is expected in 2018.
"Today is a milestone we have all been anticipating," said Kevin McCoy, President of Irving Shipbuilding. "It is a great day to be a shipbuilder in Nova Scotia as we mark the beginning of this generational opportunity."
Production has begun on two units for the center section of the first Arctic Offshore Patrol ship. Welders, pipefitters, marine fabricators and iron workers are among the trades involved in the process, using the new state-of-the-art panel line.
The ship is the first of up to 21 vessels that will renew Canada's combatant fleet over the next 30 years under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. Irving Shipbuilding has built more than 80% of Canada's current combatant ships.
Irving Shipbuilding continues to hire for positions at the Halifax Shipyard. All of the employees on the shipbuilder's recall list have been contacted. Current direct employment at Marine Fabricators in Dartmouth (where steel is cut) and the Halifax Shipyard is about 900 direct employees (staff and hourly). Over the next two years, the workforce at both sites is expected to rise to 1,600 direct employees with over 1,000 directly employed on AOPS production. In addition, total employment at Irving Shipbuilding (all operations) is forecast to rise to over 2,500 direct employees at peak production of the larger Canadian Surface Combatant vessels that will replace Canada's current fleet of Halifax Class frigates.