Public Services and Procurement Canada press release
The Navy relies on small, fast and maneuverable boats for a range of tasks at sea, from search and rescue and humanitarian aid to disaster relief and interdiction operations. The March 2020 contract for the 30 new MRBs will take about 4 years to fulfill.
In addition, ZHT was recently awarded another $16.5 million contract in December 2020 to repair and overhaul some of the RCN’s current stock of inflatable rubber boats (IRBs) and rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) to keep them operating into the future. They are used for naval missions such as search and rescue, dive support, fisheries patrols, boarding party operations and moving personnel and equipment.
The new MRBs are designed to be launched and operated from the Navy’s Halifax-class warships. They are replacing the RHIBs the Halifax-class frigate have been using.
Speed and safety are critical for the vessels the RCN and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) operate. They need to get to destinations fast, often in the worst of weather and sea conditions. MRBs can travel at speeds more than 40 knots. The Navy’s current fleet of RHIBs can travel fully loaded at 35 knots with a range of 100 nautical miles.
“When you’re designing and building the boat, you know that men and women are going to be putting their lives on the line every time that they go out in the boat. They expect to come back in one piece and alive.”John MacKillop, the ZHT’s Sales and Marketing Manager.
The RCN and CAF have unique needs in their operations at sea. Under the contract, the company can make needed changes or adjustments should unexpected problems or risks appear during testing or production that could compromise safety.
“Not all circumstances the boats encounter can be anticipated, so tweaks to design and performance are an ongoing part of the company’s quality control process.”John MacKillop, the ZHT’s Sales and Marketing Manager.
The NSS aims to supply the RCN with the vessels they need to protect Canada’s sovereignty while creating skilled jobs and generating economic benefits across the country.
The two contracts signed between PSPC and ZHT provided economic benefits to various contractors and partners. ZHT has partnered with the Sidney, British Colombia Indigenous firm Stark CNC Manufacturing to provide aluminum cutting and water jet servicing for the MRBs.
The economic gains of ZHT’s repair and overhaul shop contract with the Department of National Defence flow to a number of Canadian subcontractors: Seamasters Services in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; Inland Liferafts & Marine in Ajax, Ontario; Chantier B.L. Yacht in city of Québec, Québec; and Vector Yacht Services in Sidney, British Colombia.
Contracts totalling more than $17.5 billion have been awarded to Canadian companies under the NSS between 2012 and 2022. About $976 million went to small companies with fewer than 250 employees. Those contracts generated nearly 17,000 jobs through the marine industry, its Canadian suppliers and consumer spending by associated employees.