10/25/2013 12:19 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Davie Shipyard proudly launching new ship Cecon Pride

The historic Davie Shipyard in Lévis, Que., plans to break out the champagne this afternoon for ship 7-17, the first ship fully built in the yard in years.

 The Cecon Pride is the first in a series of three large offshore construction vessels being built for offshore installation contractor Cecon ASA.

"It's used for multi-purpose applications. From pipe laying to subsea construction, to deep sea well intervention, it's really about deep sea,” said Alex Vicefield, chairman of the shipyard.

Since being bought by Zafiro Marine of  Britain last year, the Davie Shipyard has recalled 500 workers. The potential for offshore oil and gas development and the ships to support construction, means more opportunities.

Up until the new owners took over, Davie spent years in troubled waters. Since being sold by Canada Steamship in 1976, it has been in and out of bankruptcy.

In 2010, it was under creditor protection. Davie had ended operations, putting nearly 1,600 people out of work.

There was hope in 2011 when a consortium involving SNC-Lavalin, Upper Lakes Groups Inc. and South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering took on restructuring of the yard in order to bid on ships being built for the Canadian Coast Guard and Canadian Forces.  

In the end, the federal government did not choose Davie Shipyard to build any ships and the joint venture fell apart, leaving Upper Lakes as the sole owner.

Zafiro Marine, which manages and operates a fleet of specialized offshore vessels involved in topside and subsea construction, took over in November 2012.

While work on new Canadian warships went to the Irving Shipyards in Halifax and Seaspan in Vancouver, Davie is considering bidding on  smaller government contracts.

"It's very difficult to ignore Davie in this situation. As I said, Davie is a significantly larger shipyard with a much higher capacity than the other shipyards," Vicefield said.