By Mark Cardwell

It’s out with the old, in with the old at the Davie shipyard. In mid December, the storied yard “delivered” the second of the three vessels it was contracted to build a decade ago for Norway’s now-bankrupt Cecon ASA.

The unfinished vessel – Hull 718 – was unceremoniously loaded on a specialized heavy-lift, semi-submersible ship in the St. Lawrence and shipped to an unnamed client in the Black Sea.

“By mutual agreement, Davie and (the ship’s new owners) agreed to deliver the vessel in its current state of construction which is approximately 75 per cent built,” reads a press release from the shipyard. “While it is a shame the vessel is delivered not entirely finished, we all understand the constraints of the oil and gas market and the effect on shipbuilding programs at shipyards around the world. We look forward to building the third ship at a time when the market returns.”

Davie did not return inquiries as to the identity of client or the amount of the transaction for the second vessel. However the press release noted the deal “will allow Davie to free up dock space for new projects, such as the refit and modernization of Canada’s polar icebreaker – CCGS Louis St Laurent – which is due to arrive at Davie in the new year.” The contract signing of that $14-million upgrade and refit was announced in mid January.

Canada’s heaviest icebreaker entered the shipyard in February. It marks the fifth refit and upgrade deal for the Coast Guard that Davie has landed since 2012, when the current British owners acquired the long-troubled yard. The new owners used the occasion to both declare the yard Canada’s “centre of excellence” for federal ship repair and maintenance work, and to restate their desire to land federal shipbuilding contracts.

“Working with the Canadian Coast Guard has allowed us to fully understand their needs for the future fleet,” reads a Jan. 12 press release from Davie. “This has positioned us perfectly in the government’s current solicitation for its interim icebreakers and for future coast guard newbuild programs.”