The Nanaimo Shipyard is financially restructuring itself in an effort to stave off bankruptcy. The shipyard, which has been located on Stewart Avenue since the 1930s, filed a “notice of intent” earlier this month to inform its creditors that it has begun an approximately two-month restructuring process to try and make the operation financially viable once again.
The shipyard was expecting a bonanza of contracts that was supposed to create at least 100 new, high-paying jobs as a result of its partnership with Seaspan Marine’s Vancouver Shipyard in its $8-billion federal contract that includes the building of seven new noncombat ships.
The federal ship-building contract, announced early in 2012, was expected to create approximately 4,000 jobs in B.C. over the next eight years, including 200 jobs at the Victoria Shipyard in Esquimalt and another 100 at Alberni Engineering in Port Alberni, as well as the work in Nanaimo.
But shipyard president Ron van Wachem said that after almost a year of talks with federal officials about what work the Nanaimo Shipyard will get from the contract, the company has received no commitments on any upcoming work which has left the future of the long-standing but cash-strapped company in limbo.
“We’ve been told not to expect any work from contracts related to the non-combat ships and our other work has been drying up as well,” van Wachem said.
“Contrary to what the prime minister said when he announced the Seaspan contract in Vancouver last year, we’ve received no commitments from the government for work at our shipyard other than bringing vessels there to do paint jobs on their bottoms.
“It appears that the government is not committed to small businesses in the country.”
The Nanaimo Shipyard is a full-service shipyard that is mainly engages in refits, conversions and repairs to all kinds of vessels.
Van Wachem said operations at the shipyard will continue as usual through the restructuring process.
He said he “doesn’t know” what the company will look like after its restructuring efforts, but a new name and new partners may be part of a renewed organization.
© Copyright 2013