The Irving Shipbuilding facility is seen in Halifax on June 14, 2018. The $60-billion effort to build new warships for Canada’s navy is facing another delay after a trade tribunal ordered the federal government to postpone awarding a final contract for the vessels’ design.

Feds didn’t fully assess requirements in towing vessel contract, tribunal says

The vessels are to be used on contract by the Canadian Coast Guard to tow away broken-down vessels in B.C. waters

Canada’s International Trade Tribunal says the federal government should reassess its decision to award a contract for two emergency towing vessels off the coast of British Columbia.

The $67-million contract was awarded by Public Services and Procurement Canada in August to Atlantic Towing Ltd. and the boats are now in operation.

They are to be used on contract by the Canadian Coast Guard to tow away broken-down vessels in B.C. waters before they become hazards to other boats and marine life.

In September a complaint was made to the trade tribunal by Horizon Maritime Services and the Heiltsuk Nation, which had formed a partnership to bid on the contract together.

Horizon and Heiltsuk allege Public Services didn’t properly assess all the requirements it set out for the boats.

The tribunal agrees and recommends the department take a fresh look at one of the specific safety requirements to ensure the towing vessels can safely pull the required weight.

The tribunal recommends the contract continue during the reassessment but says if another bid actually was stronger than Atlantic Towing’s, the contract should be terminated.

If the best bid is determined to have come from Horizon and Heiltsuk, they should be compensated for any money they lost out on in the process, the tribunal’s ruling says.

Heiltsuk Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett says winning the contract would be a huge economic help to her community.

A spokesman for Public Services said the department is still reviewing the tribunal’s decision, and won’t comment further. Pierre-Alain Bujold said in an email that the vessels will continue operating pending a decision on how to proceed. He noted one of the boats has already been used in an emergency.

The towing vessels are one of the key elements of the federal government’s Oceans Protection Plan. The $1.5-billion plan is critical to the government’s hope to convince Canadians it can expand the economy, including by building new oil and gas pipelines, and still protect the environment.

RELATED: Tribunal orders feds to postpone contract in $60B warship project

RELATED: Feds aiming to select preferred design for $60B warships by end of month

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Okanagan Military Tattoo returns

Performances July 28 and July 28

Update: Proposed medical building in Sicamous to be called Shuswap Healing Centre

The District of Sicamous is applying for $6 million in grant funding to go towards the project

Vehicle leaves road at Balmoral intersection near Blind Bay

A tow truck arrived to remove the vehicle at approximately 4:30 p.m.

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Fairly clear skies are forecasted over the Shuswap as a rare celestial event plays out above

Farmer’s market planned for downtown Salmon Arm

Shuswap Food Action Society envision Saturday morning community hub at Ross Street Plaza

REPLAY: B.C’s best videos this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Crash closes Coquihalla southbound lane south of Merritt

Accident occurred approximately 26 kilometres south of Merritt

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

UBC Okanagan hosts gala evening of fun, art and entertainment

The annual event is celebrating its 17th anniversary

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Most Read