‘We can take on the world,’
By Mark Squibb | Vol. 12 No. 14 (July 11, 2019)
Bay Bulls’ own C&W Industrial Fabrication and Marine Limited has been sub-contracted to build and install an innovative, environmentally aware fish processing production line aboard a new Ocean Choice International (OCI) vessel, the Calvert.
“We discussed the project with some other people. But in the end, we have a lot of trust in C&W. We have a long history with C&W, and we know they’ll deliver for us. It was an easy decision. We always prefer to work locally, of course,” said Blaine Sullivan, OCI’s President. “’They can really tackle any project, in my opinion. And I believe, once people in international marketplaces sees the work they’ve done on these vessels, they’ll be getting a lot more calls.”
OCI is installing and integrating a groundfish production line aboard it’s Artic class vessel, currently under construction, which will allow the company to process fish onboard, meaning that when the ship docks, the fish is already ready for market.
Dennis Crane, the operations manager for C&W, said that work being done in Bay Bulls is top tier.
"We've got a lot of good equipment here, and a lot of good employees,” Crane said. “So yes, we can compete with anyone in the world."
Crane noted that about 45 employees, including machine operators, engineering technologists, and outfitters, mostly from the Bay Bulls and St. John’s area, have been working on the project the last six months.
“We’re 95 percent finished,” he said.
The Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), is providing OCI with a loan of $3.5 million for the project, and the company itself is investing an equal amount.
ACOA anticipates that there will be room for 70 new full-time jobs aboard the vessel.
“It’s exactly the sort of thing we’re attracted to,” said Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O'Regan, who was in Bay Bulls last week to make the funding announcement. “It’s local companies working with local companies to produce something that can take on the world. We can take on the world and thrive here at home.”
Energy efficient components and technologies being incorporated into the design will result in a ‘Green Ship,’ the first for a Canadian groundfish vessel.
O’Regan, who as the MP for St. John’s South – Mount Pearl is also the federal representative for the Bay Bulls area, told reporters that being environmentally conscious makes good business sense.
“When we talk about this being an environmentally friendly vessel, I mean that’s more than doing it for the sake of doing it because it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “It’s also because it’s smart marketing.”
Sullivan, meanwhile, was mum on the total cost of the vessel.
“Well, I think the best way to put that, I think I’ll be the rest of my career paying it off,” he joked.
Work on the vessel, which is named for Sullivan’s home community, is expected to finish within the next year.