November 21, 2015:
HALIFAX, NS: In October 2014 Irving Shipbuilding was asked by the Royal Canadian Navy to propose an interim refueling and resupply capability. We assembled an international team of naval and commercial shipping experts to tackle the problem. This included my own experience as a former Vice Admiral in the United States Navy responsible for all ship design, construction, maintenance and conversion in a Navy of almost 300 ships and submarines.
Our focus was on providing maximum capability with minimum risk, cost, and completion schedule by limiting the amount of conversion required for an existing ship. Early on, we rejected a container ship as too expensive and too risky to convert especially in the relatively short time requested by the government for rapid reconfiguration to meet the immediate needs of the Royal Canadian Navy. The Roll On–Roll Off (RORO) ship selected by Irving Shipbuilding for conversion starts with the right ship to provide tremendous capability, adaptability, and best value to Canada.
Our proposal includes the ability to refuel two ships simultaneously; land, refuel and maintain helicopters; resupply dry stores and ammunition at sea; and supports modular medical, command and control, and berthing capability. Most importantly, we provide tremendous additional capability that is already inherent in our RORO ship that allows numerous large trucks, military vehicles, and emergency response vehicles to rapidly roll on and roll off via a large stern ramp and vehicle bays. This allows rapid response to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief emergencies at home and abroad, and provides logistics support to military forces ashore. A large open payload volume also already exists to allow for rapid, low cost reconfiguration of the ship to meet future mission needs.
Our request has and continues to be for an open, merit-based evaluation of all proposals to ensure the best solution for the Navy and best value to Canadians.
To clarify some media reports, the loan advanced by the Province of Nova Scotia is a repayable, interest bearing loan of $260 million. We have invested more than $350 million in our new facility. We have not made any draw down against an additional $44 million loan facility that was also made available by the Provincial Government. Forgiveness of the $260 million loan is dependent on achieving very significant job and other economic targets which we are committed to delivering. If we don't achieve these targets, the balance of the outstanding loan and interest must be repaid to the Province of Nova Scotia.
It is important to note that to date over $900 million in contracts have been issued to Canadian companies as part of the shipbuilding contract awarded to us in October 2011. Over $300 million of those contracts relate to Nova Scotia companies.