Seaspan to upgrade and expand Vancouver Drydock shipyard

Written by Nick Blenkey
Vancouver Drydock

Expansion of Vancouver Drydock capacity will include the addition of two new floating dry docks. [Image: Seaspan Shipyards]

Canada’s Seaspan Shipyards is making substantial investments to upgrade and expand its Vancouver Drydock infrastructure to help grow the company’s ship repair and maintenance operations.

Seaspan received permit approval from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) in October 2023 to extend its North Vancouver dry dock facilities to increase capacity and service additional vessels.

Seaspan says that consolidation of its ship repair and maintenance projects at Vancouver Drydock has resulted in the shipyard running at or near capacity for several years. The dry dock capacity expansion will increase the yard’s capacity for ship repair projects by about 30%, and will result in the creation of around 100 new jobs.

“Seaspan Vancouver Drydock plays an integral role in supporting the West Coast marine industry and creating long-term work for B.C.’s skilled workforce. By investing in improvements to better use our land and the space within our water lots, we will be able to serve more customers, create new jobs and harness new economic activity for our communities,” said Paul Hebson, vice president and general manager of Vancouver Drydock. “The input and feedback we gathered during the public engagement process for the dry dock expansion allowed us to develop meaningful measures to address concerns and helped us created a stronger, more responsive project.”

The dry dock expansion includes the extension of Seaspan’s current water lot by 40 meters and the addition of two new smaller floating drydocks and a floating work pontoon to the west of the two existing dry docks. The project is expected to take approximately one year to complete, with the dry docks and work pontoon arriving by water fully assembled. The project is subject to 61 conditions that address the impacts of noise, air emissions and lighting. Seaspan has committed to implementing several mitigation measures to its existing operation, as well as to the expanded facilities.

The expansion also includes a new operations building and a complete upgrade and extension of the current careen deck to enhance its capabilities.

The new operations building isdesigned to accommodate up to 300 people over two shifts. Construction will commence soon and is expected to be complete by late 2024.

Vancouver Drydock currently has a work force of about 200 people who complete maintenance, repair and refit on more than 50 vessel projects per year, including tugs, ferries, large freighters, Canadian Coast Guard vessels, cruise ships, fishing vessels, and barges.

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