Monday, October 4, 2010

Canadian built tugs - for the history books?

Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Larch were tasked with unberthing the container ship Arsos this afternoon. Fleetmates Atlantic Oak and Willow were berthing Fidelio at Autoport at the same time. All four tugs were built in Canada by Irving Shipbuilding for Atlantic Towing. Both companies are owned by the Irving group, and so one would expect that they might cross-pollinate to an extent.

However other Canadian tug owners ( including Groupe Océan, which also builds smaller tugs for itself at its own yard) among others, have also had tugs built by Irving at its Eastisle facility in Georgetown PEI. The yard has also built numerous tugs for export-all from the same basic Robert Allan Ltd design.

However with the recent announcement that the 25% duty on foreign built ships has finally been dropped, the yard may be in for some stiff competition. Please note the tarif reduction does not (yet) apply to tugs.

Seaspan, the large west coast tug operator, which is part of the Washington Marine group - which also owns very capable shipyards, has just placed an order for four tugs in Turkey. Granted Turkey has a very fine reputation for building Canadian designed tugs, (Robert Allan Ltd of Vancouver is the premier tug designer in the world), but building tugs in Turkey for Vancouver would be even more attractive without duties and foreign yards would certainly be more competitive for Canadian orders in the future.

For more on this topic see Shipfax.

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