Small Business Week 2020: Sagaris Nautical Inc.


Sagaris Nautical Inc. is a multi-role contracting firm currently operating in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Mike Zelman, single proprietor of Sagaris, established the company in 2008, drawing from forty years of experience in the marine industry. Sagaris offers operations consulting, vessel inspections and project management services in the marine industry.

Sagaris began its relationship with Irving Shipbuilding by providing a contract project manager to Halifax Shipyard during the refit of the PSS Chemul in 2010. Irving Shipbuilding approached Zelman in April 2019, to provide the sea trials crew for HMCS Harry DeWolf, the first of the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy.

“The security requirements for this project added a significant complication to the process,” said Mike Zelman. “However, with assistance from Irving Shipbuilding, we were able to navigate our way though the security process.”

Participation in the AOPS contract under the National Shipbuilding Strategy allowed Sagaris to provide short term employment to more than 35 seafarers, “Using an extensive network of contacts within the marine industry on the East Coast, we were able to recruit a group of professional seafarers to meet the requirements,” explains Mike.

As Mike has witnessed, changes in the offshore petroleum industry and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has left some seafarers under-employed. “Our participation allowed the company to achieve solid results in what might otherwise have been a fairly slow year,” said Mike.

Sagaris Nautical Inc. has been building expertise in providing this specialty service, having also served as Trials Master for the sea trials of the CCG “Hero Class” cutters between 2011 and 2014. The company provided sea trials crews for nine vessels. “We were able to demonstrate that we could react very quickly and flexibly to changes in dates as various technical issues arose on this series of vessels.”

From a business perspective, work on the AOPS has opened up new avenues for Sagaris Nautical Inc., “The familiarity with both the security and controlled goods systems gained through our work with Irving Shipbuilding has allowed us to bid on other projects that we might not have attempted otherwise.”

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