[MARYSTOWN, NL] – Wayne Brake, president of the MWF/CAW Local 20, which represents workers at Peter Kiewit and Sons, says a Suncor official, operator of the 'Terra Nova', recently told him the ship is still on schedule to arrive towards the end of June.
The vessel will undergo equipment upgrades to help in the handling of hydrogen sulfide, or sour gas, and replacement of the ship's swivel.
In addition to between 70 and 80 employees busy readying the Cow Head facility, a similar number are participating in training and orientation to work on the 'Terra Nova' at the College of the North Atlantic's Burin Campus on a weekly basis.
"They hope to have 500-600 done by the last of June," Brake says.
Brake acknowledges there may be some layoffs between now and the ship's arrival as much of the necessary preparation work is nearing completion.
"We're working on some stuff inside now," Brake says. "The boys are getting some trailers ready for the temporary stores they'll have set up on the ship or on the landing there somewhere. It seems to be coming together pretty good."
Despite the fact the project is only expected to last for about three months, it doesn't appear there will be any problems attracting enough workers, as Brake says the company has somewhere in the range of 2,000 resumes on hand.
Although he is unaware of any work after the 'Terra Nova', Brake notes he has a meeting scheduled with the provincial government in St. John's tomorrow afternoon. He says the construction of another provincial ferry will be part of that conversation.
Kiewit and the province hammered out their differences earlier this month on cost overruns involved in the construction of two ferries. It was agreed to separate the issue from the bid to build the third, medium-sized vessel. An engine and other parts have apparently been onsite at the facility for some time.
Brake says he remains hopeful for upcoming work, including the construction of a module for the Hebron project, and indicates it has been nice to see the yard busier than it has been in a while.
"You get out in the parking lot now, you can actually see 60 or 70 cars. It's a nice bit of difference from seeing three or four there, you know," Brake says.