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Davie adds Vard Marine and Serco to polar icebreaker team

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Conceptual rendering of Canada's planned polar icebreake released by the Canadian Coast Guard

Canada’s Davie Shipbuilding reports that Vard Marine Inc. and Serco Canada Marine have become partners in its polar icebreaker program, which is the flagship project at Davie’s National Icebreaker Center (NIC).

Canada’s current Polar Icebreakers have far exceeded their life expectancy. CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent is now in its sixth decade of operation. CCGS Terry Fox is fast approaching 40 years in service.

In February this year, Public Services and Procurement Canada released a Request for Information (RFI), open to all Canadian shipyards, seeking information on domestic shipyard capability and capacity to construct and deliver a polar-class icebreaker.

Davie, which at the end of last year qualified to become the third strategic partner under Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, has high hopes of winning the eventual contract to build that ship.

In announcing its new partners in the project, Davie noted that Vard Marine “is a world-renowned icebreaker designer having developed designs for Canadian, American and Chilean government customers among others. Vard’s best-in-class design for the Polar Icebreaker will support a multitude of Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) missions. When delivered, Canada’s Polar will be the world’s most powerful integrated electric propulsion icebreaker with a strong focus on safety, efficiency and crew comfort. It will also have world-class scientific research capabilities to study the health of the Arctic ecosystem and assess climate change impacts. Vard will provide specialist design, engineering, and program support to Davie.”

Serco, says Davie, “is globally recognized for its full lifecycle approach to maritime assets. It has a proven track record of delivering large, complex projects spanning naval, coast guard, research and civilian ships. Serco also has extensive icebreaker experience, including lead contractor status for Australia’s flagship research and supply ship. For the Polar program, Serco will provide Davie with its unrivaled engineering, project management and production support.”

“Drawing upon four decades of experience in integrated, complex ship design, and the knowledge gained from leading the design and build of the Australian Polar Class icebreaker, the 25,000 tonne RSV Nuyina, Serco looks forward to underpinning program success as a core member of Davie’s Polar Team,” said Bruce Samuelsen, President of Serco Canada Marine and Chief Growth Officer Serco Inc. “The partnership with Davie provides Serco Canada Marine with an opportunity to continue expanding in-country design capability while working to deliver critical icebreaking capability to the Canadian Coast Guard.”

“Icebreakers are in our DNA,” said Wade Carson, CEO, Vard Marine Inc.. “Vard Marine was formed in 1983 to pursue the Canadian Polar 8 Project and commercial ice capable vessels for Canada’s Beaufort Sea fleet. While the Polar 8 Project was eventually canclled, we built on our Beaufort experience to develop our internationally recognized expertise in ice class ship design. Thirty years later, we won the bid for the design of the renewed Canadian program, now known as the polar icebreaker. We remain committed to the program and we look forward to delivering a leading-edge, Canadian developed capability for the Government of Canada.”

In addition to Vard and Serco, Davie plans to announce new partners to provide propulsion, steel and other critical systems for the polar program.

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