Daily Business Buzz – Could Nova Scotia start a new shipbreaking industry?

Written by Barb McKenna

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10 February 2016 – Colin Darlington is a retired commander with the Royal Canadian Navy. He is now a member of the Royal United Services Institute of Nova Scotia, a defence association located at Canadian forces bases Halifax.

Darlington says it may be surprising, but there are no ship breaking facilities on the West Coast, where the Algonquin and Protecteur are located.

A Nova Scotia company, A.J. MacIsaac, recently procured a $39 million dollar contract to bring the two the vessels from British Columbia, through the Panama Canal, and into Liverpool to break them up.

“For me it was interesting that the hulks the Protecteur and the Algonquin will be towed all the way to the East Coast, Nova Scotia,” says Darlington. “We talk about ocean industries, I would wonder what ship breaking would be as an industry here in Nova Scotia.”

Darlington says there are only three ship breaking locations in Canada.

“The other two yards are in the Great Lakes so that means they’re out of the game for six months of the year due to ice.”

He says many people think about how much is spent on the naval vessels during their building and productive years, but not much thought goes into the disposal of them.

In this case, $39 million dollars to dispose of two.

“It’s obviously worth a number of jobs in the Liverpool area. When one looks at ship breaking you find all kinds of ugliness on the shores of Bangladesh,” he says. “One good reason the government is breaking up Canadian warships at Canadian yards is that we have a good image when we talk about something.”

He’s wondering if Nova Scotia could become known as Canadian’s ship-breaking location.

“It’s a real interesting question, what does this mean for the local Nova Scotia and Liverpool economy, what potentially could it mean?”

Darlington says there is a list of other Naval vessels that will need to be broken up in the future.

R.J. MacIsaac was lauded for it’s working in breaking up the former MV Miner.

“We have precedent with MacIsaac and hopefully we now have people with experience in breaking up a ship, and hopefully they have held on to those people.”

The first vessel is expected to leave B.C. for its long tow to Liverpool on Feb. 15.