News

New ship repair business opens in North Sydney

Source: Cape Breton Post
Published: January 17, 2014

NORTH SYDNEY — Canadian Maritime Engineering has set up shop at North Sydney harbour and has its sites already set on expansion.

The Dartmouth-based marine industrial repair company finalized the 100 per cent purchase from a local businessman about a month ago and began its first major repair project this week when the RJ Ballot tug was brought into port for repairs.

"Out of Dartmouth we do a lot of work for the Navy and the coast guard and we are hoping we can bring some of that work this way," said Jamey Nicholson, a project manager for the company.

"With the size of this slip we are going to have the capacity back up to its original at 25,000 tonnes. That'll bring bigger vessels, longer contracts."

The 102-foot tug they are now repairing is based out of Port Hawkesbury and performs steamship inspection for Transport Canada.

Nicholson said the engineering company had previously completed work in the Sydney and North Sydney area for Marine Atlantic and the Canadian Coast Guard.

They have also worked on other tankers that have entered the harbour.

Canadian Maritime Engineering has another boat yard in Sambro, but not as big as the one they now own in North Sydney. And Nicholson sees a lot of potential for the larger North Sydney location.

"It's such a big yard, with a big-sized cradle and there's not really another facility at this end. We've had tenders that were put out for different vessels already to try to bring here, but its dog eat dog but we can cover from Newfoundland all around this way."

Contracts they hope to land could last anywhere from a few weeks to several months, which could mean jobs for local workers.

"Right now we have six (employees), but we plan on making a go out of this and bringing higher end people locally to do work for us."

Two of the current employees worked for the previous owner, while two more were brought in from Dartmouth while the new owners discover what aspects of the shipyard need to be repaired or cleaned up.

An ad has already been placed on Kijiji in search of millwrights, mechanics and labourers to work at the facility, he said.

"We have a coatings division and diesel mechanics, but if we can have people here rather than shuttling. We would rather have that and then send a select few down to work with everybody."

Nicholson sees the potential for many spinoffs for other businesses in the area, too.

"We are trying to build up more vendors locally. We really want to try and help everything here — use all local vendors where possible."

That could be could news for industrial supply dealers and those who work on hydraulics. Paint supplier and ship carpentry services could also reap any benefits from a busy shipyard.