A unique ship fuelling system reached a milestone when a fuel hose was connected from land to HMCS Ville de Québec at the Nanisivik Naval Facility in August 2019.

Spanwire Supported Fueling (SSF) systems—essentially, two towers supporting a wire from which a fuel hose is suspended—are common ship-to-ship for refueling at sea and used on land for training purposes, but this is the first to span the gap between shore and ship.

Taking this approach has two advantages over the hauling of hoses across the ground and through the water to the ship, explains Steve Poaps, Team Leader, Program Management.

It takes fewer people—essential, since Nanisivik, which will be the Arctic logistics and refuelling hub for the Navy's Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships, will be sparsely manned. Suspending the hose also lessens the risk of its being damaged, causing a fuel spill.

Connecting the 15-cm (6-inch) conduit to the ship but with no fuel flowing was necessary prior to testing the system with actual fuel at the start of the 2020 construction season.

"Proving the system with a dry hook-up allows us to move forward with dispensing fuel, confident that there will be no issue," Poaps says. "Your first time doing this, you don't want it to be live with fuel over the ocean."

DCC assigned a highly experienced team to successfully deliver the world's-first SSF system in the Arctic, Poaps says. This included applying contract management tools to manage risk, as well as ensuring that the right people were involved at the right time with the right information. By doing so, the contractor could proceed with this complex, one-of-a-kind build."

DCC's decades-long experience in the North was key to significant cost savings for the Department of National Defence.

The Client-Partner needed to add a circuit of piping to move fuel at the Nanisivik Naval Facility. But, the design could not be done in enough time to order the materials and get them on the last supply ship, which left the south in June.

Knowing this, DCC estimated the amount of piping that would be needed and issued a Contract Order to purchase it and get it on the ship. Meanwhile, the design continued.

"The materials are now on site, so we can start fabrication promptly next year," says Steve Poaps. "We weighed the risks of going ahead versus waiting, and in the end saved the Client-Partner more than $1 million and a year in the schedule."

Fuel through Fire hose

Join Our Team

Our teams are made up of professional engineers, engineering and environmental technicians and technologists, experienced tradespeople and other professionals.

Check out our current openings: