Shipping in the Northwest Territories should be getting safer. The government announced the construction of four double-hulled barges at a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new Marine Training Centre in Hay River over the weekend.
Currently, fuel is carried to some northern communities in single-hulled barges. The federal government says the risk of a fuel spill increases when fuel is carried that way during low water conditions.
“Many northern communities rely on marine re-supply operations to receive up to 95 per cent of their goods,” says NWT MP Michael McLeod. “I am pleased to announce this significant step in protecting the health of our Arctic coast and waters and enhancing the safety and security of re-supply operations.”
The investment from the federal government is $19.5 million, which NWT Minister of Infrastructure and Industry, Tourism and Investment Wally Schumann says should increase the safety and efficiency of marine resupply operations. The territorial government will cover the rest of the cost.
“Together, the opening of the Marine Training Centre, the construction of the new double-hulled barges, and the improvements to harbour infrastructure in Hay River will not only pave the way for job creation and economic opportunities for northerners, but supports marine training in the North and will improve the security, safety and resiliency of NWT marine operations,” says Schumann.
Plans also include the construction of new floating docks and an extension of the concrete marginal wharf in Hay River. The docks should be done by March 2019 and the wharf by March 2020.
The federal government is spending $12.6 million over three years to set up the marine training centre. The funding also covers expanded programming at the Nunavut Fisheries and Marine Training Consortium’s Iqaluit campus.