10/21/2014 04:32 EDT | Updated 12/21/2014 05:59 EST

Nova Scotia premier confident number of ships promised will be built

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says he is confident Irving Shipbuilding will build the number of Arctic patrol ships Ottawa has proposed.

McNeil says he has been told the company is on track to proceed, but his government will seek clarification after a report by The Canadian Press said Ottawa will scale back on its original plan to buy between six and eight Arctic offshore patrol vessels.

Sources said the new plan is to buy five light icebreakers with an option for a sixth.

The deadline to sign a deal to begin constructing the vessels is the end of the year.

The Irving shipyard in Halifax was selected in 2011 to build the ships.