Each day I fail to hear an announcement the third provincial government ferry vessel will be constructed at the Kiewit Offshore facility in Marystown, is another day I fear our provincial government is content to wait, on helping to ensure the survival of the rich and important history of shipbuilding, and allow it to die a slow death in Marystown.
The first boats built in the area may have been modelled from Basque fishermen’s vessels, and during the 1840s the construction of schooner-rigged crafts of 20-30 tons, then other types of ships including draggers and tugs.
Ship construction is a specialized craft and it has been said some of the best boats and ships, including vessels for our offshore oil and gas industry, were built in Marystown.
It has also been said many of the best boat and shipbuilders in the world have worked and are still working in Marystown, and are very capable of passing their skills on to another generation of shipbuilders.
Kiewit and the provincial government has to ensure this important part of our heritage and culture remains intact by agreeing to construct all of the required ferry vessels for our NL government at the Marystown facilities.
It would mean a huge loss to the local economy if shipbuilding on the Burin Peninsula disappeared.
Newfoundland and Labrador must have its own provincial shipbuilding policy and Marystown must continue to be a major player.