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Today the federal government will be announcing the procurement of two additional vessels from Irving Shipbuilding.

The government has already purchased six ships from the company, at a cost of $3.5 billion. The two additional ships are expected to be employed in the Canadian Coast Guard.

In total, $15.7 billion has been allocated to upgrade the condition of Canada’s ailing coast guard. The money will be spent on building 18 new ships. 16 of those will be constructed in Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards with the remaining two being produced by Irving Shipyards in Nova Scotia.

Irving Shipbuilding was recently at the center of a scandal revolving around alleged leaks that the government awarded the contract to the company for suspicious reasons.

Vice Admiral Mark Norman was vindicated after Crown prosecutors stayed breach of trust charges against him, citing additional evidence.

Federal sources are defending the purchase of the two coast guard vessels as a necessary move to avoid layoffs.

With one third of the fleet having passed its expected lifespan, the coast guard is facing a shortage of viable ships.