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The Norton Galatea and the Gallipoli in Burry’s Shipyard in early June.
The Norton Galatea and the Gallipoli in Burry’s Shipyard in early June. - file photo

‘I told you so’; MHA Colin Holloway

CLARENVILLE, N.L. — While there were opposing viewpoints surrounding the province’s cancellation of the work on the M.V. Gallipoli at Burry’s Shipyard — now that the Clarenville company has filed a notice of intention with the bankruptcy and insolvency act, these differences of opinion within government persist.

When contacted by The Packet about Burry’s Shipyard’s notice of intention to restructure, Steve Crocker, minister of transportation and works, said via email that it’s unfortunate to hear news of a company in the province filing for bankruptcy protection, adding the department maintained a positive working relationship with the company on many contracts.

When referring to the cancellation of the contract for work on the M.V. Gallipoli, the minister defends the decision.

“The original contract was for $1.5 million with work scheduled to conclude in April,” read the email. “When the department made the decision in May to move the MV Gallipoli, the department had paid the company $2.2 million.

“Our goal was to have the vessel return to service as soon as possible because the work was already behind schedule.”

The Department of Transportation and Works also attached a letter from the independent consultant, Seashore Marine, which advised the department the repairs to the slipway were behind schedule and it was unclear if it would be certified to accommodate the vessel once completed, and Burry’s hadn’t displayed they had the human resources to complete the work within the timeframe.

The slipway was certified for the 650-tonne capacity, before the Gallipoli was taken to St. John’s from Clarenville to resume work.

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Burry’s Shipyard president calls Gallipoli cancellation detrimental to business

Burry’s Shipyard made notice of intention under Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act

Terra Nova MHA Colin Holloway, who has previously been vocal about his disapproval surrounding the cancellation of the Gallipoli contract at Burry’s, said in an interview with The Packet on Tuesday, July 24, the shipyard’s financial hardships further cement that stance.

“When I had met with Minister Crocker and his officials, I said (as much) to them,” said Holloway.

“I hate to tell people that I told you so, but I told them this was going to happen. Here’s how I knew it was going to happen, because the minute that the provincial government starts to lose faith in a company like Burry’s Shipyard, other people start to lose faith as well.”

He added the situation “boggled his mind” when it came to the schedule concerns. He says the timeline was a priority but since the decision was made, there were several instances where there have been delays.

“It became a catch-22. As Burry’s Shipyard had developed a 12-week schedule and Transportation and Works said they wanted them to do it in nine weeks … When (Burry’s) presented a nine-week schedule, they said ‘no, you can’t do it in nine-weeks — it’s a 12-week schedule.’ It made no sense to me whatsoever.”

He says the bottom line is the whole situation has had a negative impact on the economy of the Clarenville region.

“And it’s had a detrimental impact on a company like Burry’s Shipyard that’s been around almost 125 years.

“Because Burry’s was focused on doing the contract with the Gallipoli, they weren’t bidding on other contracts because it was taking all of their workforce to finish that contract for the provincial government. Once the provincial government decided to cancel the contract, everyone else got nervous and nobody was interested about having a discussion about work on their projects.”

Holloway says he’s hopeful Burry’s will be able to reorganize and get back into business.

“But I still say it was the wrong decision to cancel that contract,” he said.

The Department of Transportation and Works say the Gallipoli arrived at NewDock in St. John’s at the start of June.

“Since that time, work has been active on the vessel on the remaining work from the original contract and the additional damages to the vessel after it was improperly placed on the slipway, causing it to fail,” read the email from the department.

“We anticipate the vessel returning to service this fall,” concluded the message from Transportation and Works.

Holloway noted, however, that the actual work had not started until about a couple of weeks ago, at the beginning of July. He predicts a timeline for work of at least into November of this year.

Jonathan.parsons@thepacket.ca

Twitter: @jejparsons

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