Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Can't vs. Won't and the Canadian Conundrum

If you ever see a foreign designed ship that you wish we had in our Fleet, you always get a Tourette like response, "You can't build a foreign designed ship here... "

Don't be silly, of course you can - we just don't want to for mostly reasons of ego; the Canadians are - via David Pugliese at Defense News;
Canada has selected the German Navy’s Berlin-class design for its new fleet of supply ships, setting in motion the eventual construction of two vessels that are critical to maritime operations.

But the timing of the ships’ delivery to the fleet is still in question, since the shipbuilder is also on the hook to build icebreakers for the Coast Guard and can’t build both ships at the same time.
The Royal Canadian Navy had been examining two designs for its Joint Support Ship (JSS) program. One was an original design from BMT Fleet Technology of Ottawa, while the second was of the Berlin class from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Canada, also of Ottawa.

Finn said the final selection was based on operating capability, affordability, cost and risk.

“Across those areas, the Berlin-class came out ahead,” he said.
What a radical concept. So where will it be built?
A contract will be negotiated with ThyssenKrupp for the design, which will then be turned over to Seaspan/Vancouver Shipyards of Vancouver, British Columbia. Seaspan will build the two Canadian vessels, and Finn said he expects a contract for that to be in place by 2015.
There is the issue. The present ships are 40-years old ... and Canada has not quite kept her industrial base in shape ... so as Tim Colton points out;
... the crazies in Ottawa want to build some at Vancouver Shipyards, a company that hasn't built a self-propelled vessel in 20 years and then only a tugboat. Oh, lawdy, what a disaster in the making. And if you don't think it will be a disaster, just click on the link to what the Navy calls a "Backgrounder" and scroll down to "Next Steps". Aaaaaaah! Why don't they just buy some ships from the Germans? They'll cost less than half as much and take less than half as long.
There's your cautionary tale.

There are worse things than building a foreign design.


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