HALIFAX - The federal government has taken a step towards the construction of the Arctic offshore patrol ships in Halifax as part of the shipbuilding procurement project.
Federal Public Works Minister Diane Finley announced that Ottawa has authorized an engineering design phase and a proposal that allows the Irving Shipyard in the city to prepare a plan to build the vessels.
Finley says the work has a potential value of $53.5 million and is part of a larger $288-million deal announced last March that divides the design work into seven phases, including engineering and project management.
Construction of the vessels is expected to begin next year.
The federal government has said it plans to build six to eight of the ships, but the auditor general has warned the navy may not get the type nor number of vessels it needs because of cost restrictions.