Seaspan proposing to build two additional drydocks next to Lonsdale's Shipyards district

Jul 16 2021, 5:53 pm

Seaspan is looking to build additional ship maintenance and repair capacity on the North Vancouver waterfront, immediately west of their dry dock operations and adjacent to The Shipyards district in Lonsdale.

The BC shipbuilding giant has submitted an application to the Port of Vancouver to install a floating work pontoon and two additional dry docks on the west side of the existing deep-water outfitting pier.

This will consolidate and significantly expand Seaspan’s ship repair business operations, which currently frequently turns away potential contracts due to limited facilities.

The new large additional drydock would be about 100 metres in length, 30 metres in width, and 10 metres in depth, while the smaller drydock would be about 55 metres in length, 22 metres in width, and eight metres in depth.

Existing condition:

seaspan vancouver dry dock

Existing condition of the Vancouver Dry Dock. (Seaspan)

Proposed future condition:

seaspan vancouver dry dock expansion

Artistic rendering of the future expansion of the Vancouver Dry Dock. (Seaspan)

To accommodate the expansion of the facility, called the Vancouver Dry Dock, the existing small drydock would be relocated 40 metres to the south of its current position. This is all achieved by expanding Seaspan’s water lot lease by 40 metres to the west — towards the publicly accessible Burrard Dry Dock Pier and the recently-built The Shipyards district redevelopment of commercial and residential buildings, and public spaces.

Other proposed changes include installing a ramp to connect the work pontoon to the drydocks, and new lighting and utilities.

Existing condition:

seaspan vancouver dry dock

Existing condition of the Vancouver Dry Dock. (Seaspan)

Proposed future condition:

seaspan vancouver dry dock expansion

Artistic rendering of the future expansion of the Vancouver Dry Dock. (Seaspan)

Artistic rendering of the future expansion of the Vancouver Dry Dock. (Seaspan)

Seaspan anticipates the new drydocks would be used for smaller vessels such as fishing boats, and that the typical activities for these vessels would not generate a significant amount of noise. According to the company, the walls of the new drydocks could even be beneficial by shielding noise originating from the existing drydocks.

Seaspan and the port authority are currently conducting public consultation on the proposal. A decision on the application is expected this winter.

seaspan vancouver dry dock expansion

Proposed water lot lease expansion for the expansion of Vancouver Dry Dock. (Seaspan)

The new 100-metre long drydock will be able to accommodate a vessel with a length of up to 95 metres, a beam of up to 26 metres, and a weight of up to 4,500 tonnes, while the new 55-metre long drydock will able to handle a vessel with a length of up to 50 metres, a beam of up to 18 metres, and a weight of up to 1,200 tonnes.

In contrast, the existing Panamax drydock can handle a ship with a length of up to 220 metres, a beam of up to 45 metres, and a weight of 36,000 tonnes, while the existing small dock can accommodate a ship with a length of up to 130 metres, a beam of up to 32 metres, and a weight of up to 30,000 tonnes.

One of the largest and most complex contracts performed at the Panamax drydock occurred in 2019, when the 1998-built MS Regatta cruise ship — a 181-metre-long vessel with a weight of 30,000 tonnes and capacity for 680 passengers — underwent a major refit. The project also necessitated a secondary cruise ship to temporarily house the 2,000 contracted workers to achieve the refit in under a two weeks, before a scheduled cruise sailing. The Panamax drydock has also been used for the maintenance work of some of BC Ferries’ largest vessels.

Seaspan’s main facility, the Vancouver Shipyards, located east of Lonsdale and the future Harbourside Waterfront residential development, is currently preoccupied with the federal government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy of building new Coast Guard and non-combat navy vessels.

Seaspan North Vancouver shipyards

MS Regatta (left) and Grand Classica (right) at Seaspan’s Vancouver Dry Docks in North Vancouver, September 2019. (Kevin Reimer/Instagram)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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