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Burry’s Shipyard owners trying to keep site alive

Burry's Shipyard in June.
Burry's Shipyard in June. - File image

Future still undetermined as insolvency proceedings continue

Burry’s Shipyard Inc. continues to go through insolvency proceedings, with the fate of the shipyard in Clarenville still to be determined.

The owners say there is interest in the shipyard’s future.

The company filed for protection earlier this summer, with a July 10 notice of its intention to make a proposal to creditors.

In addition to the public court filings, the company responded to a request from The Telegram with a detailed statement on where the process stands. It states Burry’s Shipyard continues to act in good faith. A request was made to the court for more time to build the proposal for creditors and that was granted, as the filings confirm.

Burry’s Shipyard has been working with Deloitte Restructuring to attract an investor or investors interested in contributing to the future of the operation.

“There has been significant interest in the shipyard, and Burry’s Shipyard Inc. will be reporting again to the court on Sept. 21. At this point in time no definitive decisions have been made as to the structure of the shipyard and its operations in the future. Much will depend on the nature of any investment to be made,” reads the statement provided by the company.

“The owners and their professional advisors are working diligently to ensure the survival of the business, and the interests of the creditors and employees of the shipyard.”

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The company is committed to providing an update ahead of the September hearing date.

Burry’s Shipyard Inc. was incorporated in 2011 and is owned by Glenn and Sonia Burry. The business has been involved with machining, fabrication, maintenance and vessel refit work, for ships under 650 tonnes.

A series of financial hits to the business, compounded over the course of 19 months, contributed to the current situation. The items were highlighted in the first report to the court by insolvency trustee Deloitte Restructuring, filed back on July 30.

The first in the trio of challenges was an unsuccessful attempt to buy the Marystown Shipyard. A due diligence review process was started in November 2016, but by June 2017 the decision was made the purchase would not move ahead. Burry’s Shipyard had a $500,000 write-off tied to the effort.

The second hit came in May 2017, when — as the owners have claimed — refit customer Bond Sea Transportation Inc. didn’t pay for work completed on the Sir Robert Bond, leading to a $1.3-million write off. The dispute over the payment is before the courts, Deloitte notes.

Finally, there was the case involving the provincial ferry MV Gallipoli.

Burry’s Shipyard Inc. landed the ferry refit contract. In September 2017, the ship moved in the drydock cradle, damaging the marine railway, leading to extensive back and forth on what would and could be done in response. 

A recent access to information request by The Telegram (and a second request on the same subject from an unknown filer to the provincial Department of Transportation and Works) revealed details of daily exchanges and the final decisions, as the Gallipoli project ran into trouble.

The records match previous reports from The Packet, showing independent assessments on the proposed completion of the work submitted to the province.

In early May 2018, the provincial government cancelled the contract with Burry’s Shipyard. On June 2, the ferry was towed to St. John’s.

In an interview Wednesday, Transportation Minister Steve Crocker said additional repair needs have been identified and, while he could not give an exact timeline for its return to Ramea, he said the ferry is expected to remain in St. John’s into “later in the fall.”

— With files from David Maher/The Telegram

ashley.fitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

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