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From the ChronicleHerald.com Halifax - Nova Scotia.


The Halifax Shipyard is getting back into building ships.

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. has won a contract to build a small cruise ship for Pearl Sea Cruises of Connecticut. Although there is no firm commitment on a second vessel, it is expected another ship will be also be built in Halifax.

Charles Robertson, president of Pearl Sea, an offshore affiliate of American Cruise Lines, said Monday the first vessel will accommodate 166 passengers and a second 210. It will be "very high-end cruising," he said.

The first vessel will be delivered in the spring of 2008 and ready for that summer’s cruise season. Although the cruise itinerary has not been finalized, the ship will offer cruises around Atlantic Canada and up the St. Lawrence River.

During the winter of 2007-08, the vessel will operate in the Caribbean. When the second vessel is built, one will operate in the British Isles and the Baltic while the other will be back in the waters off Atlantic Canada and New England.

Mr. Robertson would not disclose the cost of building the ships, which will be registered in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. As they will not operate in the U.S. domestic market, they will not fall under the Jones Act, which specifies that vessels operating within the States must be built and registered in the U.S.

Irving spokeswoman Mary Keith said Irving has a commitment to build an 87-metre vessel. Construction, she said, will be split between the Halifax Shipyard and Irving’s Woodside facility in Dartmouth. "Halifax will do the marine structure and Woodside will work on the accommodation units."

Construction is to start in March.The last new vessel built at the Halifax yard was a tug for a Danish company in 2004-05.

Jamie Vaslet, business agent for Marine Workers Local 1 of the Canadian Auto Workers, said Monday that new construction means "our shops are going to get up and running. That will give us a small base to keep some of our more experienced and senior guys working."

He expects the project will employ upwards of 150 people, and if a second ship is started, that number could rise to 175 to 200. The Halifax yard has been surviving in the past few years on ship repair but those jobs are not usually long-term.

"Any new work is good work, especially with new construction," Mr. Vaslet said. "We will have some work in our shops which we drastically need. The repair work, with the exception of naval jobs, usually lasts between four and six weeks . . . with some steady employment. We are looking at eight months to a year once this project gets off the ground."


Rushie
 

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Pearl Sea are obviously building in Canada to avoid the Coasting Trade Act which bans non Canadian built or imported duty paid (25%) ships from trading within Canadian waters. It's similar to the Jones Act. Registering in the Marshall Islands would present no problem but I assume they will have to have a full Canadian crew aboard when operating on our coast.

They probably had no choice other than Halifax Shipyards, the only other east coast yard still working is Davie in Quebec. Halifax Shipyards have been the biggest job creation project for years relying on government contracts to keep the otherwise "unemployable" in work, building navy ships of such low quality that they are ensured more time back in the yard than at sea.

Had I been Pearl Sea, I would have paid the 25% duty on a properly built foreign vessel, but I guess the subsidy package was too good to pass up.
 
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