Amadeusz Juskowiak

Versatile to build polar ice breaker

Versatile Corps shipbuilding subsidiary has a letter of intent to build a 320 mln dlr polar icebreaker for the Canadian coast guard Transport Minister John Crosbie said

In a Vancouver address Crosbie said Versatile Pacific Shipyards Inc was the low bidder to build the Arctic Class 8 icebreaker but the company must meet certain financial and engineering conditions before the contract is awarded

The government also announced it will provide up to 13 mln dlrs in loan insurance to help Versatile prepare for the construction of the vessel said before the contract can be awarded Versatile will be required to offer assurances that the shipyard is technically and financially capable of performing the work

Crosibie said Versatiles bid was 100 mln dlrs lower than competing bidders and will generate 1000 person years of direct employment

Work on the vessel which Crosbie said would be the most powerful icebreaker in the world would begin next year and completed in 1992

The government announced plans to build the icebreaker last year following the controversial passage of the US Coast Guards vessel the Polar Sea through the disputed Northwest Passage The US government did not seek permission for the journey claiming the area was an international water way

The government said the icebreaker was needed to back up the countrys claim of sovereignty in the Arctic