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

New book about Vanderhoof’s past will be on shelves this spring

Nechako Valley Historical Society is finishing up the book that has involved the whole community

B.C. chiefs show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Chiefs from around B.C. outside the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Smithers show support.

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

RCMP to review actions at Wet’suwet’en pipeline protest camps

Senior Mountie says he hopes protests will be peaceful following deal with hereditary chiefs

‘Tripod’ delays access to Unist’ot’en camp

Social media rumours of cultural significance quashed, meaning police “exclusion zones” should end.

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Port authority imposes ban on development around Lelu Island

Following Pacific Northwest LNG, there will be no future projects proposed near Flora Bank

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Most Read