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Atlantic Towing Coast Guard Contract Sees New Partnerships with BC First Nations


VICTORIA, BC - - Atlantic Towing Limited (ATL) is pleased to announce three new partnerships with Indigenous communities in British Columbia, for whom the ocean, coastline and marine resource protection is vital.

In August 2018, the Canadian Coast Guard awarded a three-year contract to ATL for the provision of two emergency offshore towing vessels that will operate in BC coastal waters. These vessels – the Eagle and the Raven – are capable of towing large commercial ships in distress, helping to prevent potential marine pollution incidents and contributing to Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan. In December 2018, the ships arrived in BC and began this important work. 

Since that time, ATL has been actively engaging with several Coastal First Nation Communities. These conversations have resulted in new relationships: a Joint Venture Agreement between Songhees Seafood & Steam and ESS-Compass Group Canada; a contract with Salish Sea Industrial Services; and, a plan to implement Bridgewatch and Culinary training programs for local students via Camosun College. 

 ATL Press Release Image 1 - April 2019
 Christina Clarke, Executive Director with Songhees Nation; Carlos Echaiz-McGarth, Director of Business Development with ESS-Compass Group Canada; Dave Rogers, Executive Chef with Songhees Seafood & Steam; Catharine Davies, Sales and Event Manager for Songhees Seafood & Steam; Tim Brownlow, Director of Industry Relations with Atlantic Towing Limited


Facilitating A New Joint Venture

The Joint Venture between Songhees Seafood & Steam and ESS-Compass Group Canada was formed specifically to meet the catering needs of the ATL vessels – the Raven and the Eagle. Songhees Seafood & Steam will provide the ships’ food supplies for the duration of the contract.

“Songhees Nation is excited to see Songhees Seafood and Steam take on this opportunity,” said Christina Clarke, Executive Director, “We’re looking forward to developing the partnership. We appreciate that Compass Group and Atlantic Towing reached out and invited us to the table. This work is right here in our backyard, in the Salish Sea, so we’re very enthusiastic.” 

“I value what it means to show the youth what coming to the table with partners looks like, and what kind of opportunities will be available to them in future,” said Catharine Davies, Sales and Event Manager with Songhees Seafood & Steam. “It’s more opportunity for them to learn and grow."

Securing Vessel Maintenance Services

ATL has also contracted Salish Sea Industrial Services to provide vessel maintenance services to their vessels for the duration of the Canadian Coast Guard contract. Salish Sea Industrial Services, a Joint Venture by the Esquimalt First Nation, the Songhees Nation, and the Ralmax Group of Companies, has been servicing the vessels since their arrival in December. 

“Salish Sea looks forward to providing marine based and shore side services for Atlantic Towing,” said Gary Leibel, Chief Financial Officer with Salish Sea Industrial Services. “They are supporting the coast and recognize how important the coastal waters are to the Coastal First Nation Communities and all Canadians. All of us appreciate having that presence and responsiveness on the coast.”

“This opportunity to work with Atlantic Towing is a unique and exciting opportunity for Salish Sea Industrial Services,” said Karen Dick-Tunkara, Songhees First Nation Councillor and member of Salish Sea Industrial Services’ Board of Directors. “We are developing a new area of business services and expertise and we are able to participate in a meaningful way in the protection of British Columbia’s coastline. For thousands of years, these waters were an important food source and transportation highway for all coastal Nations. They remain integral to who we are today. We are proud to be contributing to their protection.”

 ATL Press Release Image 2 - April 2019
 Gary Leibel, CFO, Salish Sea; Jerome Thomas, Journeyman, Salish Sea; Tim Brownlow, Director of Industry Relations, Atlantic Towing Limited


Opportunities for Future Generations

In an ongoing effort to support marine competency and education, ATL has supported numerous marine cadet training programs in Atlantic Canada for many years. More than 50 cadets were employed as members of the ATL fleet in 2018 alone.

Having recently engaged in operations on the BC coast, ATL has been involved in discussions with multiple Indigenous communities and Camosun College regarding the development of Bridgewatch and Culinary training programs for local students and youth.   

“The development of training programs that involve First Nations communities in BC is a natural expansion of the programs we currently have in place on the East Coast,” said Gilles Gagnon, Vice President and General Manager of ATL. “We look forward to this program starting in the near future.”

Looking Forward

Atlantic Towing Limited is committed to continued work with BC’s Coastal Communities, and to sustaining a local support system between the Canadian Coast Guard, local partners, and the ongoing effort to protect our oceans for generations to come.

“We are honoured to have been selected to support the Canadian Coast Guard, and to contribute in a meaningful way to Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan on the West Coast,” said Wayne Power, Group Vice President of J.D Irving’s Transportation and Logistics Division. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with British Columbia’s Coastal Communities on this important initiative.”

 ATL Press Release Image 3 - April 2019
 The Atlantic Eagle, near Quatsino Sound, British Columbia in March 2019. The vessel has been stationed in BC coastal waters since December 2018.



Headquartered in Saint John, NB, Atlantic Towing Limited. specializes in the provision of diverse marine services including port tug services, coastal towing, offshore oil and gas exploration, and product support. Its world class vessels are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and experienced, versatile crews. Both crewmembers and land-based personnel operate with safety, quality of service and team work top-of-mind. The company is Green Marine certified.  Atlantic Towing is a member of the JDI Transportation and Logistics’ family of companies.


Songhees Nation incorporated Songhees Seafood & Steam in 2015.  Operating as, Songhees Events and Catering, the company offers catering and a food truck, as well as banquet services and a gallery café in the Songhees Wellness Centre.  Critically-acclaimed local Chef, David Roger leads the company.  Songhees Events and Catering is known for great food and excellent service.  In partnership with Songhees Nation and Camosun College, Songhees Events and Catering provides training and work experience for students of the Aboriginal Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism Management Program.


ESS North America has over 40 years of remote support services experience and is the market leader in total support service solutions for clients in the construction, oil & gas, mining and defence sectors. Compass Group Canada is the country’s leading foodservice and support services provider with over 25,000 associates working in more than 2,200 location throughout the country. The company specializes in providing foodservices and support services across the core sectors including leading sports and leisure venues, executive dining rooms and cafes, schools, universities, seniors’ residences and hospitals as well as remote camps and off shore oil rigs.


Salish Sea Industrial Services is the product of a Joint Venture by the Esquimalt First Nation, the Songhees First Nation, and the Ralmax Group of Companies. Since its founding in 2012, the company has developed a reputation for quality, reliability and on-time work. Salish Sea is a proud Registered Aboriginal Business and a private tax paying corporation that specializes in marine industrial services.

About J.D. Irving, Limited:

Established in 1882, J.D. Irving, Limited. (JDI) is comprised of a diverse group of enterprises, spanning agriculture, construction, consumer products, food, forestry, retail, shipbuilding and transportation. With a team of over 16,000 full time employees across Canada and the United States, JDI employs best practices, continuous improvement and innovation to deliver top tier products and services to valued customers every day.

JDI strives to make a positive difference in its communities, prioritizing social, corporate and environmental sustainability.


Please direct all media and/or attendance requests to:

Mary Keith
Vice President Communications
J.D. Irving, Limited
(506) 650-8209
(506) 632-5122