St. Catharines, February 6, 2012 – The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, and Rick Dykstra, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines, announced today the award of a $21.7 million contract to conduct the refit of the HMCS Athabaskan to Seaway Marine & Industrial Inc. (SMI) of St. Catharines.

“Once again, the Government of Canada is drawing on the expertise of Canadian companies to deliver top-of-the-line services to our men and women in uniform,” said Minister Ambrose. “We are committed to providing the Canadian Forces with the equipment and services they need, while conducting an open, fair and transparent competitive procurement process.”

Part of a five-year scheduled maintenance cycle, this major refit is required to enable the HMCS Athabaskan to keep providing continued and reliable services to the Royal Canadian Navy. Awarded to SMI through a competitive process, this contract is expected to create 117 new jobs while maintaining 226 existing ones.

“I couldn’t be happier to see the federal government investing again in our community”, said MP Dykstra.  “From Brock University in the south end, to the Performing Arts Centre downtown and now SMI in the north end, St. Catharines is clearly back on the federal radar when it comes to these types of investments.”

“This was a close competition.  We are happy to bring this work to St. Catharines. This will help in what would otherwise be a quiet summer period,” said John Dewar, Vice President, Strategic Services, Seaway Marine & Industrial Inc. (SMI).

The refit of the HMCS Athabaskan, a 39-year-old Iroquois class destroyer, will include a docking to facilitate extensive underwater work, in addition to comprehensive maintenance and repairs on various ship systems like air, firefighting and electrical, as well as deck equipment. Work will begin next April and is expected to be completed by fall 2012.

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