Antle, who owns the Newdock yard in St. John’s, was in Marystown last week to meet with shipyard owner Peter Kiewit.
Antle, who told The Southern Gazette he also met with town officials, the Unifor Local 20/MWF union and Placentia West-Bellvue MHA Mark Browne, called it a “fact-finding” operation.
“It’s exploratory, but we are serious about the opportunity,” he said.
Antle said he’s looking to grow Newdock and prospects exist in “certain elements” of the industry.
“We’re really exploring all avenues, including the possibility of acquiring Marystown shipyard to augment what we already have,” he said.
“There’s still a fair amount of work to do and a lot of information to be garnered. We’re not trying to give anybody any false hope or heighten any expectations that something’s going to happen tomorrow, but we feel that we’re well-positioned in the marketplace to look at the economics, understand the business and to see if there is something there that makes sense.”
The shipyard, along with the fabrication facility at Cow Head, forms Kiewit’s operation in Marystown. Only the shipyard site is for sale. The old facility has seen little use in the past decade and a significant effort would be required to make it operational.
Stories of the shipyard’s sale to another Newfoundland businessman, Daniel Villeneuve, were circulating last fall with the deal considered to be pending.
Unifor Local 20/MWF president Rick Farrell said Kiewit has told the union that transaction was not successful.
Farrell said the union is glad to see additional interest in the shipyard, however.
“Anything that can certainly get that site up and running again, to get our members back to work again, and to get some consistency back (would be welcomed),” he said.
“We know shipbuilding and ship repair is still alive and well in the country, and we hope our federal government can see those things – and our provincial government – and they can look at Marystown as a viable entity in the future.”