Canadian consultancy group Tactical Marine Solutions has tied up a contract to manage a research vessel for the University of Victoria.

Dermot Loughnane.
The Tsekoa II (built 1984), which had previously been operated by the Canadian Coast Guard, is undergoing upgrades that will help it support underwater observatories in the Georgia Strait between Vancouver Island and mainland Canada, Victoria-based Tactical told TradeWinds today.

At a time when governments are under increased pressure to cut back spending, Tactical CEO and former Skaugen PetroTrans (SPT) executive Dermot Loughnane says the management agreement tastes particularly sweet.

“In an era where governments are lucky if they can get away with doing the same for less, something that delivers better value has to be the trend for the future,” he said of the privatisation pact.

While the shipmanagement deal is the company’s first, Loughnane hopes it is not the last.

“We absolutely would consider managing commercial ships but given our locale we have to be very open about what we look at if we want to keep growing, and we do,” he told TradeWinds via e-email.

“When I went to register my company as a shipmanager with the provincial authorities there had never been a ship manager registered before and we had to take some time to explain what it is we would do. This means it’s either a great opportunity locally or, well I'll just think of it as an opportunity.”

While Loughnane would not pin a price tag on his company’s contract, media outlets in Canada say the refurbishments to the Tsekoa II are being covered by a portion of a $13m oceanic research grant from the Canadian government.

Based in Victoria, British Colombia, Tactical Marine Solutions made headlines last May when it brokered a bareboat chartering deal between Norwegian offshore owner DOF and the Australian government for the 14,800-bhp multipurpose support vessel (MPSV) Skandi Bergen (built 2007).

Prior to founding his Canadian consultancy, Loughnane served as a managing director for an affiliate of Teekay Corp and later as an executive at Houston-based lightering operator SPT.

The Tsekoa II will be renamed when it hits the water later this year.

Loughnan says the vessel will boast an all-electric propulsion system powered by fuel cells and low-emission diesel generators, a first in North America.