November 27th, 2020

Navy could get converted Davie supply ships at fraction of price of building new: PBO

By The Canadian Press on November 17, 2020.

MV Asterisk is seen in the harbour in Halifax on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

OTTAWA – The parliamentary budget office says Ottawa could buy two converted civilian vessels as support ships for the Royal Canadian Navy at a fraction of the price of building new ones.

The budget watchdog estimates in a report released this morning that the price to buy the two ships from Quebec-based Chantier Davie shipyard would be around $1.4 billion.

That compares to around $4 billion to build two brand-new support vessels, the first of which is already under construction in Vancouver and slated for delivery in 2023.

While that’s a massive price difference, the parliamentary budget office says it cannot compare the actual capabilities of the converted Davie ships and those being built from scratch.

The budget officer’s report follows years of heavy lobbying from Davie, which has been leasing one of the two converted civilian vessels to the navy since 2018 and wants Ottawa to move ahead with the second.

The federal government has been resisting those calls despite pressure from Davie, opposition parties and the Quebec government.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2020.

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