Breaking the ice: Mount Pearl Company could help build Coast Guard’s next ship

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A Mount Pearl ship design company is partnering with a Vancouver shipyard to potentially build the next Canadian Coast Guard polar icebreaker.In an agreement announced Wednesday morning, Genoa Design International of Mount Pearl will work with Seaspan Shipyards to deliver the new vessel by 2029, when the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent – the current heavy icebreaker – is retired after six decades of service.

The project is part of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy contract awarded to Seaspan in 2011.

“The Canadian Coast Guard has said that this ship needs to be in the water by 2029,” said Gina Pecore, CEO of Genoa Design International, in an interview with Diffusion. “If we don’t have something then we don’t have year-round capacity in the north and as you know that’s essential for the country. So, to launch this ship in 2029, work must begin. in 2021. ”

Genoa has grown from 20 employees to over 220 since joining Seaspan’s supply chain in 2014. The two companies have worked together on several new vessels in Canadian waters, and Genoa has used that work to secure contracts in other countries.

“Growth will not come just from Canadian work,” Pecore said. “It also comes from leveraging Canadian work in other programs outside of Canada. ”

If Seaspan Shipyards is confirmed as the constructor of the icebreaker by the federal government, Genoa will provide the 3D modeling and production design for the program, “creating long-term sustained jobs in ocean technologies in the new economy. Newfoundland and Labrador Innovation ”.

At a time when Newfoundland and Labrador projects net debt of $ 16.7 billion, and with many calls – and promises – to diversify its economy in light of a struggling oil and gas sector, the new agreement will help Genoa Design continue to contribute to the big picture and strengthen opportunities elsewhere, Seaspan said.

“Beyond Genoa, the National Shipbuilding Strategy and the Polar Icebreaker Program represent jobs and supply opportunities well suited to Newfoundland and Labrador’s established supply chain for the cold ocean and megaprojects, ”the company statement read.

“This is especially important now, as the provincial economy has been hit hard by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to diversify the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent will retire in 2029 after six decades of service. (Submitted by Natural Resources Canada)

According to the statement, Genoa is expected to provide around $ 30 million to the province’s gross domestic product in 2020. It will also support 220 full-time employees and generate around $ 3 million in provincial and municipal government revenue.

Newfoundland and Labrador has more than 40 laboratories and research facilities focused on research and technological development on the ocean, the Arctic and harsh environments. About 600 companies support industries that regularly operate under conditions similar to those in the Arctic.

The province is home to the Atlantic Regional Headquarters of the Canadian Coast Guard. It is also a main base for service to the Arctic and the home port of the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent.

Pecore said the former ship deserves a lot of respect for its longevity and service to the country.

“Sixty years later, things have really changed,” she says.

“I think you really have to give a nod to the lifespan and everyone who has serviced the Louis S. St-Laurent while it has been serviced. To extend the life of the ship that long is really amazing. And I can’t imagine anyone who thought almost 60 years ago that this ship would still be in service as it is today, because a lot of changes have certainly happened. ”

Learn more about CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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