Two cruise ships parked at North Vancouver shipyards part of enormous refit project

Sep 10 2019, 2:19 pm

A cruise ship refit project at Seaspan’s North Vancouver shipyards in Lower Lonsdale is so big and time intensive it requires a second cruise ship.

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Since Friday, Seaspan has been performing a refit of the MS Regatta — a 1998-built, 594-ft-long, 30,000-tonne, 680-passenger capacity ship of Oceania Cruises.

The work involves stripping the hull and recoating it, plus updates to the propulsion system and rudder.

There will also be passenger amenity upgrades to the interior, such as new furnishings, carpets, television systems, and a number of other improvements.

 

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But Seaspan must have the ship’s refit fully complete by September 21, just ahead of the vessel’s next itinerary — a 20-day voyage from Seattle to Miami, starting on September 24.

That is why Seaspan has hired a construction crew army of approximately 2,000 contractors, cruise ship specialists, and drydock employees to work around the clock on the job, which is expected to provide a local economic and payroll spinoff of $10 million.

A second vessel, the Grand Classica, is berthed next to the drydock to house all of the crew. This 1991-built, 722-ft-long vessel holds up to 1,700 passengers and 600 crew. The Grand Classica arrived on September 4 and will depart September 22.

“A project of this size and complexity is challenging. It takes teamwork, and our team is very excited about it,” said Paul Hebson, vice-president and general manager of Seaspan Vancouver Drydock, in a statement.

 

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While this is a significant one-off, Seaspan has largely been preoccupied with its $8-billion federal contract to build non-combat vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy, including scientific research vessels, fisheries vessels, a polar icebreaker, and support vessels.

Earlier in the decade, it spent $170 million to upgrade and expand its facilities for the federal contract.

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