Shipbuilders in Halifax are expecting news of a multi-million-dollar contract today to refit seven of the navy’s Halifax-class frigates.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay will make an announcement at the Halifax Shipyard this afternoon and the president of the Marine Worker’s Federation says he expects the Irving-owned shipyard will be awarded the contract, which has been in the works since last July.
The refit contract will give builders a decade or so of work, he said.
“This would see some guys through to retirement,” said Karl Risser Jr. yesterday.
He said the shipbuilding industry is touch and go, leaving some trades workers out of a job when work is complete, but the contract to upgrade the seven frigates will ensure long-term work for about 200 people.
Last July, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced $3.1 billion to refit the navy’s fleet of Halifax-class frigates ships.
Planning of the mid-life refit for the 12 navy frigates began in 2005.
The process will start in 2010 and be complete by 2017.
The renovations will include new command and control systems, radar suites, and internal communications systems — among other upgrades — for each vessel.
A contract to upgrade the remaining Halifax-class frigates will be announced at the Victoria Shipyard in B.C. later this afternoon.