Port Weller Dry Docks picked for icebreaker life extension project

Written by Nick Blenkey
Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker

CCGS Amundsen [Image: Canadian Coast Guard]

Canada’s Heddle Shipyards has been awarded the vessel life extension of the Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker CCGS Amundsen. It says that the award ushers in a new era of growth and stability for its Port Weller Dry Docks in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Strategically located above Lock One on the Welland Canal, the shipyard is the largest Canadian-owned dry dock facility on the Great Lakes. It was once the premier shipbuilding facility in Canada, employing upwards of 2.000 people during peak operation. The CCGS Des Groseilliers, sister ship to the CCGS Amundsen and backbone of the Canadian Coast Guard large icebreaking fleet, was constructed at Port Weller in the early 1980s.

This week, the CCGS Amundsen will arrive at the Port Weller Dry Docks, where it will stay through June 2022. The eight-month refit valued at approximately CAD 12,000,000 (about US$ 9.5 million) will sustain over 100 direct jobs and support subcontractors and suppliers across the Niagara Region, Ontario, and Canada. Heddle Shipyards has also secured the dry docking of a seaway max laker at the Port Weller facility, ensuring a busy 2022 winter work season.

Hiring Ramps Up

Heddle Shipyards will be hiring upwards of 100 people across all positions to support what will be the single largest project executed by the Port Weller Dry Docks under Heddle Shipyards’ management.

“It is a truly exciting time for us,” says Heddle President Shaun Padulo. “Projects like the CCGS Amundsen help reduce the boom and bust cycle of the ship repair and construction industry in Ontario and will allow us to continue to grow and strengthen our team. We are extremely grateful to the Canadian Coast Guard and the Government of Canada for a project that will support the revitalization of the shipbuilding industry in Ontario.”

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