Mari-Tech 2012
May 15, 2012

Just as the NSPS (National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy) brings new life to Canada’s marine industries, the Mari-Tech 2012 Conference in Ottawa lived up to its theme of “Re-Birth of the Marine Technical Community.” More than 500 people attended the April conference to hear keynote addresses from prominent industry and government executives and browse an Expo hall with over 50 exhibitors. Wendy Allerton of L-3 MAPPS had volunteered for sponsorship duty and found supporters responded well to the ‘cross-domain’ nature of the event. “This was their chance to talk to the Royal Canadian Navy, the Coast Guard, the offshore as well as the commercial shipbuilding sector, all under one roof,” she commented. In view of the keen interest for anything related to shipbuilding in Canada through the NSPS ­programs, the marine technical community is clearly revitalized.

Mari-Tech was clearly being held at the right time in the right place to meet the needs of all sectors of the maritime community. Co-hosts Jeffrey Smith, Chair, National Council of the Canadian Institute of Marine Engineering (CIMarE), and Glenn Walters, Chair, Eastern Canadian Section of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME ECS), welcomed industry and government representatives from across Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

Michel Vermette, Deputy Commissioner Vessel Procurement, at the Canadian Coast Guard, provided attendees with an update on ongoing shipbuilding projects including the recent announcement of an additional $5.2 billion for fleet investments. Peter Noble, SNAME’s President-Elect and Chief Naval Architect at ConocoPhillips, spoke on the importance of professional societies and their contributions to continued training and education for upcoming generations.

Tom Ring wraps up Mari-Tech 2012.

The Chair of the Transportation Safety Board, Wendy Tadros, described the process behind TSB investigations, a keynote that was followed by a panel session on ‘Rising to the Challenge, Avoiding Disaster’. This was particularly topical with the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic and the 30th anniversary since the loss of the Ocean Ranger.

Commodore Patrick Finn, Director General Maritime Equipment Program Management, Canadian Forces, examined challenges and opportunities in supporting current and future Canadian Navy fleets.

The panel session entitled “Engineering a Smarter Marine Community” looked at the U.S. National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP) which facilitates a collaborative approach to problem solving with ­participation from all major U.S. shipyards. The ensuing discussion led to a suggestion that value propositions put forth by the Irving and Vancouver Shipyards in the winning bids of the NSPS be combined to create such a vehicle here in Canada. Peter Cairns, President of the Shipbuilding Association of Canada, volunteered to take the lead.

Closing remarks were provided by Tom Ring, assistant deputy minister for acquisitions at Public Works and Government Services Canada. Mr. Ring spoke of lessons learned from the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy and how they will be applied in future complex procurements. “One on the key success factors was the extensive of engagement with industry,” he noted. “This early and ongoing engagement resulted in the Government getting greater exposure to innovation, improved fairness and transparency and optimized the outcome for everyone.” Mr. Ring emphasized that the recent progress with the NSPS will require the skills and knowledge demonstrated by new people with new tools to support ever more challenging designs.

Speaking at the gala dinner at the Chateau Laurier, RCN Deputy Commander, Rear Admiral Mark Norman, discussed challenges and requirements facing the Royal Canadian Navy.

Technical presentations at Mari-Tech provided the latest information on ­technology and best practices from companies such as BMT Fleet Technology, Thordon Bearings, Rolls-Royce Canada, L-3 MAPPS, Siemens PLM Software, Hamann AG, MAN Diesel & Turbo Canada, and ­Babcock Canada.

Between sessions, attendees browsed the displays by Canadian and international exhibitors. The theme of revitalizing the marine technical community was evident in the optimism evident throughout the show floor."

Acknowledging the success of this busy Ottawa conference, the Co-hosts announced that a two-day technical papers conference is now being planned for 20-21 Feb 2013. A call for papers is due to be released before the end of June 2012.

Next year’s Mari-Tech will be hosted by CIMarE Atlantic Branch in Halifax, Nova Scotia, June 25 to 27, 2013. More information will be available soon at

© FrontLine Defence 2012