The Irving Shipbuilding facility is seen in Halifax on June 14, 2018. The $60-billion effort to build new warships for Canada’s navy is facing another delay after a trade tribunal ordered the federal government to postpone awarding a final contract for the vessels’ design.

Feds didn’t fully assess requirements in towing vessel contract, tribunal says

The vessels are to be used on contract by the Canadian Coast Guard to tow away broken-down vessels in B.C. waters

Canada’s International Trade Tribunal says the federal government should reassess its decision to award a contract for two emergency towing vessels off the coast of British Columbia.

The $67-million contract was awarded by Public Services and Procurement Canada in August to Atlantic Towing Ltd. and the boats are now in operation.

They are to be used on contract by the Canadian Coast Guard to tow away broken-down vessels in B.C. waters before they become hazards to other boats and marine life.

In September a complaint was made to the trade tribunal by Horizon Maritime Services and the Heiltsuk Nation, which had formed a partnership to bid on the contract together.

Horizon and Heiltsuk allege Public Services didn’t properly assess all the requirements it set out for the boats.

The tribunal agrees and recommends the department take a fresh look at one of the specific safety requirements to ensure the towing vessels can safely pull the required weight.

The tribunal recommends the contract continue during the reassessment but says if another bid actually was stronger than Atlantic Towing’s, the contract should be terminated.

If the best bid is determined to have come from Horizon and Heiltsuk, they should be compensated for any money they lost out on in the process, the tribunal’s ruling says.

Heiltsuk Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett says winning the contract would be a huge economic help to her community.

A spokesman for Public Services said the department is still reviewing the tribunal’s decision, and won’t comment further. Pierre-Alain Bujold said in an email that the vessels will continue operating pending a decision on how to proceed. He noted one of the boats has already been used in an emergency.

The towing vessels are one of the key elements of the federal government’s Oceans Protection Plan. The $1.5-billion plan is critical to the government’s hope to convince Canadians it can expand the economy, including by building new oil and gas pipelines, and still protect the environment.

RELATED: Tribunal orders feds to postpone contract in $60B warship project

RELATED: Feds aiming to select preferred design for $60B warships by end of month

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Port Alberni to consider the future of McLean Mill

City council will be holding a committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 21

Intern gives Port Alberni’s museum artifacts an update

St. John’s man travelled more than 7,000 kms to assist with curatorial duties

BCHL: Bulldogs best Salmon Arm at home

Bulldogs face Powell River in Sunday matinee Jan. 20; puck drop is 2 p.m.

Port Alberni’s Kari Trott set to shine at Canada Winter Games

Trott is one of two Special Olympics BC figure skaters invited to the national event

BCHL: Bulldogs’ Hawthorne commits to NCAA Wildcats

20-year-old goaltender earns scholarship to play Div. 1 hockey next year

REPLAY: B.C’s best videos this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Support pours in for Vancouver Island couple whose home was destroyed by massive blaze

GoFundMe page reached $10,000 in one day for soon-to-be parents

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found in Cowichan Valley

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

Most Read