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

Nelson Women’s March joins others across globe

The event was held to promote equality and an end to violence against women

Born 1 pound, 11 ounces, Winlaw premature baby comes home

Indra Greaves was born at the Nelson hospital after just 24 weeks of gestation

Leafs stretch winning streak to 8 games

Nelson downed Grand Forks 5-2 on Friday

RDCK moves ahead with Castlegar rec complex upgrade plan

Board approves grant application for $13 million from provincial, federal governments

Cottonwood Lake preservation group surpasses $50,000 fundraising goal

In 28 days, 393 donors have contributed to the fund

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Major winter storm wreaks havoc on U.S. travel

Nearly 5,000 flights were cancelled Sunday around the country

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Most Read