A former B.C. Ferries employee has purchased the recently-refurbished Queen of Chilliwack for a reported $2 million, just five years after the ship was renovated to the tune of $15 million. He acquired the vessel for his growing passenger ferry business in Fiji.
According to a news report out of Fiji, George Goundar purchased the old BC Ferries vessel from the corporation last year to add a third ship to his company Goundar Shipping, the country’s largest inter-island passenger ferry service. The Queen of Chilliwack joins the former Queen of Prince Rupert, now the Lomaiviti Princess, in the fleet.
Goundar says he held senior positions with BC Ferries for over 20 years until 2011 when the Queen of Prince Rupert went up for sale and he decided to purchase it with the intention of chasing his dreams and starting a ferry business in Fiji.
While the sale price of the Queen of Chilliwack was listed in the Fiji Times article as $3 million in Fiji dollars (roughly $1.8 million CAD), BC Ferries has not publicly confirmed the value. The ship was built in 1978 but refurbished in 2010 at a cost of $15 million, including a new car deck watertight doors, propeller seals, new instrumentation, control systems and new lifesaving systems. The upgrades were supposed to keep the ship in service until 2016 or later, according to the company’s 2010/2011 Annual Report.
In a Fiji Sun article dated September 9, 2015, Goundar states more than $28 million CAD was spent on the Queen of Chilliwack for upgrades and maintenance prior to its sale.
While BC Ferries is not disclosing any figures, Deborah Marshall, a spokesperson for the company could only confirm the ship was sold last fall.
“The sale price is not being disclosed, as BC Ferries will soon be offering other vessels for sale and the company does not want to comprise the sale of those vessels,” said Marshall. “We did have a competitive bid process for the sale of the Queen of Chilliwack. There is a limited market for used ferries and the market dictates the price.”