Davie Shipbuilding

Davie Shipbuilding is a historic shipbuilding company located in Lauzon, Quebec, Canada. The facility is now operating as Chantier Davie Canada Inc.

Davie Shipbuilding
SuccessorMIL-Davie Shipbuilding
Founded1825 (1825) – as Davie shipyard
1850 (1850) – George T. Davie & Sons
1914 (1914) – Davie Shipbuilding & Repairing
1985 (1985) – Versatile Davie Incorporated
1986 (1986) – MIL Davie Shipbuilding
2000 (2000) – Industries Davie, Limited
2006 (2006) – Davie Yards Incorporated
2011 (2011) – Chantier Davie Canada Inc.
ProductsFerries, naval vessels, icebreakers, offshore
OwnerChantier Davie Canada Incorporated
ParentInocea Group – former Zafiro Marine Industries Incorporated


The Davie shipyard in Lauzon, Quebec has a complex ownership history.

19th century

The Davie shipyard was founded in 1825 by Allison Davie (May 4, 1796 – June 1836), an English ship captain, however, the construction record only dates to 1897. The company was established on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River across from Quebec City in the community of Lauzon, Quebec (now part of the city of Levis, Quebec). Davie's father-in-law, George Taylor, had begun a shipbuilding business in 1811 and Davie apparently purchased those assets as well.[1] Following Allison Davie's death, the company was headed by his wife Elizabeth Davie until 1850, when his son George Taylor Davie (1828–1907) as "George T. Davie & Sons".[1]

It changed its name in 1914 to "Davie Shipbuilding & Repairing." The Davie family sold the shipyard to Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) in 1929, however, they also started another "George T. Davie shipyard" immediately next door to the larger Lauzon facility. The second shipyard was managed by sons Allison Cufaude Davie and George Duncan Davie, with the former taking full control following the death of the latter in 1937.[2]

Davie's Brothers Limited remained in family ownership until 1951 and was owned by Logistec Corporation (1971) and finally, Équimer (1987) before the yard closed for good in 1989.[2]

20th century

The company built a wide range of vessels in the 1800s and the first half of the 20th century, ranging from wooden sailing vessels and steamers to modern steel ships, both cargo and passenger carriers. During World War II, Davie built 35 warships (minesweepers, corvettes and destroyers).

On October 27, 1955, the Davie yard was almost destroyed by a massive fire which started in the foundry. It lasted eight hours, and although no one was injured many employees were left unemployed for several months.

By the 1970s, Canada Steamship Lines was owned by Power Corporation and in a 1976 restructuring, it sold the Davie yard to Societé de Construction Navale (Soconav) which was established by former employees of Marine Industries Ltd with the financial backing of the Quebec provincial government's Societé Générale de Financement. In 1981 the Davie shipyard was sold to Dome Petroleum and in 1985 it was sold to Versatile Corporation which changed the name of the shipyard to "Versatile Davie Incorporated".

In the 1970s to 1980s the Davie yard built oil rigs and some warships. However, after CSL ended its ownership the company began to fail. By the 1980s, the company was in financial trouble and was bailed out by both the provincial and federal governments. In 1986 the federal government asked Quebec to rationalize its shipyards. Marine Industries Ltd (MIL) merged with Versatile Davie Inc to become MIL-Davie Shipbuilding. Under this new arrangement, MIL's shipyard in Sorel, Quebec was called "M.I.L. Tracy" (for Tracy, Quebec, a neighborhood of Sorel) and the former Davie yard in Lauzon was called "M.I.L. Lauzon." Shortly after the merger, the new company, MIL-Davie Shipbuilding closed the Sorel shipyard along with the Versatile Vickers shipyard in Montreal, resulting in a total loss of 1,700 jobs but kept the Lauzon yard open as it was working on building two large vessels for Marine Atlantic and three warships for the Royal Canadian Navy's Canadian Patrol Frigate Project.

After the warship project was finished in the early 1990s, MIL-Davie Shipbuilding, along with the Davie yard in Lauzon went into receivership. After being bought by the Quebec government, Davie was sold to Dominion Bridge Company for $1. In 1998, the parent Dominion Bridge Company went into bankruptcy and the Davie shipyard went into trusteeship in 1998. It was sold again in 2000 and became "Industries Davie, Ltd". During this period, the company undertook a number of projects involving vessels and rigs which serve the offshore oil and gas market. These included the upgrade of a semi-submersible platform for Petrobras and the conversion of a vessel for pipe laying.

21st century

In 2006, the shipyard was almost auctioned in June,[3] before it was sold to TECO Maritime ASA of Norway and was restructured into a new company called Davie Yards Incorporated. In February 2010 TECO received protection from its creditors.[4] It employed at the time, 1,000 people. Investissement Québec held CAD$28 million in share capital, so Davie can be considered partly an SOE.[4]

In early 2011, TECO announced that Davie Yards Inc announced a bid by Fincantieri – Cantieri Navali Italiani of Italy[4] and Fincantieri subsidiary DRS Technologies Canada to purchase the shipyard from TECO. This deal fell through in July 2011. After the Fincantieri deal fell through, the yard underwent financial restructuring in July 2011 in order to qualify to bid for a portion of the first stages of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) which will see ships built for the Canadian Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Navy and Department of Fisheries and Oceans,[5] for a total value of CAD$33 billion[6] or $35 billion.[4] The NSPS had its bidding deadline extended by three weeks specifically to accommodate the Davie restructuring.[4]

As part of the restructuring, on 21 July 2011 Upper Lakes Groups Inc. (owner of Seaway Marine & Industrial Inc. in St. Catharines) bought the assets of the bankrupt Davie Yards Inc.[4] The Canadian engineering conglomerate SNC-Lavalin, Upper Lakes Groups Inc. and South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) had formalized the week before a joint venture to bid for the contract.[4] The new company bore the name Chantier Davie Canada Inc.

Davie was not selected for the first contracts in the NSPS program, which went instead to Vancouver Shipyards, a subsidiary of Seaspan, and Halifax Shipyards, a unit of the Irving Group of Companies.[7] Vancouver Shipyards obtained an $8 billion contract to supply the Coast Guard, while Halifax Shipyards obtained a contract valued at $25 billion to supply the Navy.[7] Each ship is worth $1 billion.[7] The Davie bid was only for the Coast Guard contract.[7] Davie had only 15 employees during this time.[7] Provincial politicians had no power over the bidding process due to the federal nature of the contracts.[7] DSME canceled its involvement in the joint venture at this loss. SNC-Lavalin withdrew from the joint venture in May 2012,[6] under a cloud, as its CEO had resigned in March 2012.

Upper Lakes, which was at the time the only owner of the yard, sold it in November 2012 to a partnership between Zafiro Marine of the UK and the Norwegian operator Cecon ASA, the latter of which encountered financial difficulties during the bid from which it emerged with its fleet intact.[8][9] The Sûreté du Québec on 5 December 2012 opened an investigation over government interference, influence peddling, corruption on the allegations of Michel Juneau-Katsuya, who at the time was president of a failed bidder for the assets. He had previously been employed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.[8] The Government of Quebec, or its agent Investissement Quebec, had at risk $100 million.[8] Juneau-Katsuya alleged that manager Richard Bertrand had solicited a bribe.[8] Zafiro Marine later changed its name to Inocea and kept the Davie name for its Canadian operations.[10]

Davie launched MV Cecon Pride in October 2013; it was the first ship launched from the yard in over a decade. Davie CEO Alan Bowen said "This is a great day for Davie. There are only a handful of shipyards across the globe, mainly in Europe, capable of building a vessel to this specification and with this level of technology." It was the 717th ship built at the yard. The 130-metre (427 ft) vessel was scheduled for final delivery to Cecon ASA in February 2014. "It's used for multi-purpose applications. From pipe laying to subsea construction to deep sea well intervention, it's really about the deep sea," said Alex Vicefield, chairman of the shipyard.[11] Export Development Canada forgave a loan to Cecon ASA[12] of approximately $216 million during the Zafiro-Cecon sale process,[13] which had tied up for many years three partly finished keels: the above-mentioned Cecon Pride, Sovereign and Excellence.[11]

In 2014, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Diane Finley turned down Davie's bid to build Canada's next icebreaker, saying that the $500 million that the firm's fixed price offer would save the taxpayer over the Seaspan bid was rejected "based on the credibility, the viability, the reliability of the companies".[14]

In 2018 Davie along with Victoria Shipyards and Halifax Shipyards share a $7 billion contract to maintain and repair the Halifax-class frigates and will shared with Halifax and six ships based on the east coast.[15] This was later clarified as a $500 million contract for the maintenance of three east coast frigates. It is the largest contract the shipyard has ever signed.[16]

Ships built or converted

This is a list of ships built by Davie Shipbuilding (1825–1986). For ships built after 1986, see MIL-Davie Shipbuilding or Davie Yards Incorporated.


Coast Guard and other utility vessels


Sailing vessels

Ships built by Chantier Davie Canada

Historic legacy

The shipyard in Lauzon, Quebec was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990.[20]


  1. "Davie, Allison". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  2. "A.C. Davie Shipyard" (Press release). Parks Canada. 1 May 2015. Archived from the original on 18 November 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  3. canada.com: "Davie on the brink" 20 May 2006 Archived 3 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  4. "La Cour supérieure autorise la vente de Chantiers Davie à Upper Lakes". radio-canada (in French). 21 July 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  5. "Potential Davie Yards investors say interest conditional on federal contract". The Brandon Sun.
  6. "SNC-Lavalin met fin à sa participation dans le chantier maritime Davie". radio-canada (in French). 31 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  7. "La Davie n'obtient aucun contrat naval d'Ottawa". radio-canada (in French). 20 October 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  8. De Pierrebourg, Fabrice (5 December 2012). "Vente du chantier maritime Davie: la SQ ouvre une enquête". La Presse (in French). Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  9. "cecon asa (CECON:Oslo Bors) – Executive Profile: Philippa D. Wright DMS, MBIMDirector, Cecon ASA". businessweek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  10. "Home". inocea.com. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  11. "Quebec's Davie Shipyard launches new ship Cecon Pride". CBC News. 25 October 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  12. "Norsk Tillitsmann: Summons to Bondholders' meeting", esp see Scedule 3. Archived 2014-05-27 at the Wayback Machine
  13. Leduc, Pierre (7 December 2012). "Débat houleux sur la vente du chantier Davie à l'Assemblée nationale". La Presse (in French). Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  14. Milewski, Terry (29 May 2014). "Harper government rejects offer to save $500M on new icebreaker". CBC News. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  15. Kines, Lindsay (2 November 2018). "Victoria Shipyards to share in $7-billion ship project". Times Colonist. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  16. "Davie Shipyard awarded largest contract in company history". CTV News. 16 July 2019. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  17. Canadian Railway and Marine World magazine, July 1918, page 318
  18. Pugliese, David (8 October 2015). "Davie expects interim supply ship ready for Royal Canadian Navy in summer 2017". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  19. Wanamaker, Glenn (22 July 2017). "Is Quebec City's troubled Davie shipyard making a comeback?". CBC News. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  20. Davie Shipyard. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 24 March 2012.

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