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Green tugboat fleet operations facility built in Campbell River

Zewén facility owned by Haisla Nation

A new, environmentally-friendly operations facility built for Haisla First Nation-owned tugboat fleet was built in Campbell River.

On March 8, HaiSea Marine celebrated the official naming and blessing of its new floating operations facility. According to a release, it will be the “home base for the world’s greenest tugboat fleet.”

HaiSea Marine is majority-owned by the Haisla Nation, which is based in Kitamaat Village near Kitimat, B.C., and is a partnership with Seaspan.

The facility, named Zewén, was constructed by Pacific Marine Construction on We Wai Kum territory in Campbell River. We Wai Kum representatives were on-hand in Vancouver to celebrate the unveiling. They were joined by representatives from Haisla Nation and LNG Canada.

“It has been an honour to be part of this project and complete the construction of the Zewén facility for HaiSea Marine,” said Cory Handyside from Pacific Marine Construction. “There was a lot of learning, innovation, and teamwork that led to the project’s success, and we are very proud to have been part of it.”

“Zewén” is the Haisla word for Coho and is now also the name of HaiSea’s operations and maintenance facility. The location where the Zewén will be secured in Kitimat inspired the name from Haisla Nation Hereditary Chief, Basil Grant. His family has been fishing for Coho in that exact spot for generations. Now the site will carry a new legacy as the home base for HaiSea’s fleet that will support LNG carriers calling at LNG Canada’s new export facility.

“When HaiSea was still in the idea and planning phase, we challenged Seaspan to create something different; an environmentally friendly tugboat fleet to ply our waters; job opportunities for Haisla Nation members and our local First Nations neighbours; and lastly, we wanted diversity and inclusion to be part of HaiSea’s culture,” said Chief Crystal Smith from Haisla Nation. “As we celebrate the naming of the Zewén facility, it is clear that our shared vision of diversity, inclusion, and environmental innovation is coming to fruition.”

The floating facility is ready to be transported up the Douglas Channel to Kitimat, where it will support HaiSea’s operations.

““As a modern marine start-up, we were able to develop HaiSea from the ground-up in true partnership with the Haisla Nation, and with feedback from our mariners,” said Jordan Pechie from Seaspan Marine Transportation. “We had the remarkable opportunity to build our culture and our assets, like the Zewén, to support an inclusive and diverse team. Zewén features single enclosed bathrooms and changing rooms, which in 2024 is the baseline expectation but it’s revolutionary for a centuries-old industry that was not built for everyone. The unveiling and naming of Zewén is a celebration of how we are doing things differently and is a testament to our efforts in designing welcoming and inclusive workspaces at sea and on shore.”

Zewén is a floating operations and maintenance building and was purpose-built and designed to withstand the extreme tidal range in the Kitimat region.

It was also designed to be welcoming and inclusive of all genders with a focus on comfort, privacy, and overall well- being. It features a large workshop, common areas, a gym, and will also accommodate up to eight shore-based personnel to use during working hours.

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