Emergency towing vessels


On August 9, 2018, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), on behalf of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), awarded a contract to Atlantic Towing Limited for the chartering services of two emergency offshore towing vessels (ETVs) as part of the Oceans Protection Plan (OPP).

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On February 5, 2018, PSPC issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the lease of two ETVs under the OPP to meet an immediate need for increased emergency response capacity on the West Coast. Industry and stakeholders were consulted extensively on this process and the requirements for this contract, and all parties were given several opportunities to provide input.

On August 9, 2018, Atlantic Towing Ltd., Saint John, N.B., was awarded a three-year contract worth $67M (taxes included) for the lease of two ETVs. The contract includes up to 7 one-year options for extensions.

The first ETV vessel entered into service in November 2018 and the second ETV entered into service in December 2018.


Heiltsuk Nation had created a joint venture with Halifax-based Horizon Maritime Services Ltd to submit a bid proposal for this requirement. Heiltsuk Horizon has submitted several complaints to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) about the fairness of the bid evaluation process.

A partial re-evaluation was conducted in response to the initial complaint and confirmed the original results.

On October 18, 2019, the CITT determined that Heiltsuk Horizon’s second and third complaints (PR-2019-020 and PR-2019-025) were valid in-part.

On November 1, 2019, the CITT issued the reasons for its determination. The CITT dismissed allegations that the Crown was biased and that it improperly allowed bid repair during the re-evaluation of one of the mandatory requirements (MR). This requirement, MR-12, outlines the Bollard pull (i.e. the towing capacity of the vessel). However, the CITT determined that the complaints are valid in-part, recommending a further re-evaluation of MR-12. In the CITT’s view, the re-evaluators’ interpretation of MR-12 was unreasonable and inconsistent with the language of MR-12.

The contract with Atlantic Towing remains in place given the importance of the services provided by the emergency offshore towing vessels in the context of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan.

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