A joint venture between the Haisla Nation and a major British Columbia tugboat company will soon oversee a fleet of tugboats that will escort ships carrying liquid natural gas from a huge processing facility in Kitimat.
Last month the Haisla Nation and Seaspan ULC announced their partnership HaiSea Marine’s contract with LNG Canada to “design, build and operate escort tugs and harbour tugs required for LNG Canada’s LNGexport facility in Kitimat,” according to an Aug. 27 news release.
The contract is worth approximately $500 million over 12 years and will create around 76 jobs.
Haisla councillors Crystal Smith and Kevin Stewart say the contract will provide economic opportunities.
“It brings a lot of job opportunities for our nation,” said Stewart. “We are ocean people, so this will be a good capture working on the water with HaiSea and Seaspan.”
The Haisla say they will use revenues for employment training. Seaspan will be hiring 70 new workers and currently have four Haisla employed.
The Kitimat LNG project is one of the biggest in Canada.
Gas from the northeastern B.C. will be transported through a 471-kilometre pipeline to the liquefaction facility near Kitimat.
From there ships will take the gas to Asian markets.
Smith said she hopes the contract will provide economic stability for her members.
“Some of our goals as a Nation is to have as many Haisla members employment for [the] long term,” she said.
“Our next step would be to implement the planned training that ensures that our members are the ones out on the water protected our coast.”