#5 Seaspan

2014 Rank: #7


The Royal Canadian Navy’s decision last September to retire its only Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ships, the Protecteur and the Preserver, has dramatically increased the importance of Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards, where replacement Joint Support Ships are scheduled to be built. This unexpected development vaults Seaspan two places to the number five spot in CDR’s Top Ten rankings.

Seaspan had already been selected to build the non-combat vessels slated to be part of the country’s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy and its Canada First Defence Strategy. However the Harper Government’s pattern of loudly announcing procurement plans and not following through, meant that construction of those vessels was far from assured. Retirement of Canada’s existing support ship capabilities will make it far harder for the Tories to delay or renege on replacement plans.

Yet despite this spate of good luck, Seaspan brings enormous assets to the table in its own right. Its Vancouver Shipyards’ west coast facilities make it one of the country’s most important defence contractors - ideally located to do maintenance, repair and overhaul on ships in Canada’s Pacific fleet. Seaspan thus not surprisingly plays huge roles in Canada’s frigate life extension program (FELEX) and the submarine related Victoria In-Service Support Contract (VISSC).

However NSPS work remains the big prize. Late last year Seaspan announced that it had completed a $170 million modernization of Vancouver Shipyards, to ready the facility to build the non-combat NSPS ships. Around the same time Seaspan announced the start of construction on the initial production blocks for the first of those vessels: a Canadian Coast Guard Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel (OFSV). Seaspan has also been actively recruiting top industry talent to help push these and other programs forward. The company, which recently appointed a new vice-president (and general manager) Malcolm Barker, also scored a major coup in earlier in the year when it hired Tim Page, a highly-connected industry insider, away from the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries.

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