Premier Christy Clark and federal politicians attended the ceremony marking the start of work on facilities needed to forge new ships for the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy.
The contract was awarded to the Vancouver Shipyards one year ago through the federal National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.
The $200-million revitalization of the waterfront yards will include four new fabrication buildings, a shipbuilding gantry crane and a load-out pier, to be completed by 2015.
Seaspan CEO Jonathan Whitworth says the marine workforce in B.C. will grow by 1,000 employees over the next three years, while the federal program is estimated to create a total of 4,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs.
Construction on the first of the new non-combat ships is planned for next year.