Dutch company to build two new BC Ferries vessels

Jun 9 2017, 1:29 am

Two new vessels for the BC Ferries fleet will be built in a shipyard in Romania by Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards Group.

The “minor class vessels” will serve the Powell River to Texada Island and the Port McNeill to Sointula routes, replacing the 59-year-old North Island Princess and the Quadra Queen II. Both hybrid diesel electric vessels will each have the capacity to carry at least 44 vehicles and up to 300 passengers and crew.

Artistic rendering of BC Ferries’ new minor class vessel. (BC Ferries)

According to the ferry corporation, there was interest from 28 national and international shipyards, and 12 of these shipyards – including five Canadian shipyards – were shortlisted to submit a request for proposal. However, none of the shortlisted Canadian shipyards proceeded with a bid.

“Our mandate is to serve communities with safe, reliable and efficient marine transportation services in the most cost effective manner,” said BC Ferries’ President and CEO Mark Collins in a statement.

“We ran a full competitive bidding process that was open to all B.C., national and international shipyards. We are excited that this project continues our commitment to coastal communities to replace aging ships with standardized vessels, which will reduce costs and improve operations.”

The new vessels will cost a combined $86.5 million, and are scheduled to go into service in 2020.

Yesterday, the Salish Raven, the last of three new $165-million Salish-class ferries, arrived in Victoria after a 41-day journey from Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Poland. These mid-sized vessels will replace the 1960s-built MV Queen of Burnaby and MV Queen of Nanaimo.

The same Polish shipyard will also be retrofitting the fleet’s largest vessels – the Spirit of Vancouver Island and Spirit of British Columbia – at a cost of $140 million over the next two years.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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