Irving Shipbuilding’s Response to CBC’s Reporting About the Coast Guard’s Mid Shore Patrol Vessels

January 29, 2016:

This past week, CBC ran several misleading stories regarding the Mid Shore Patrol Vessels built by the dedicated men and women of the Halifax Shipyard. We want to set the record straight.

In 2009 Canada contracted Irving Shipbuilding to construct nine new Mid Shore Patrol Vessels for the Coast Guard. The ships were built for a fixed price and delivered on time, on budget, and with superb quality.

The ship design is a proven one - used by 16 Navies and Coast Guard fleets around the world including the United States and the United Kingdom. Ship construction included rigorous testing at the shipyard and at sea that was witnessed and certified by experts at Lloyds Register and by the Canadian government.

The ships are sophisticated, complex, state-of-the-art vessels with over 13,000 components. A 12 month warranty was provided to correct any issues. Only minor and routine items have been raised and we have worked with the Coast Guard to promptly address all warranty issues. 

Some specific examples include: 

• There are over 350,000 metres of cabling onboard the nine ships – about the distance between Toronto and Windsor. Of this, five sections of cable (less than 500 metres or 0.14%) required replacement. No reasonable person would call this "faulty wiring". 

• The CBC identified the potential for problems in heavy ice conditions. However, these ships are not designed or meant for operations in heavy ice. They are designed to be fast patrol vessels. 

Perhaps the ultimate proof of the safety and reliability of the ships is the successful transit of two ships from Halifax to Victoria, BC in the winter of 2015 – a 13,000 kilometre voyage. This was stressing for the 43 metre ships and their crews and a testament to the training, high standards, and professionalism of the Coast Guard crews and the shipbuilders at Irving Shipbuilding. 

CBC based their story on “expert” opinion, but did not name all their experts. CBC did interview a former Coast Guard Captain but he never served on a Mid Shore Patrol Vessel. We are particularly disappointed that CBC did not air a TV interview with me that they taped.

The men and women of Irving Shipbuilding are committed to quality work for Canada. We take very seriously our responsibility to provide safe and capable vessels to those who serve, and we stand by our work for the Coast Guard.

Kevin McCoy,
President of Irving Shipbuilding Inc.