Sketch shows new ferries for Powell River and Southern Gulf Islands routes

Polish shipyard wins BC Ferries work

New intermediate vessels will serve Powell River and the Gulf Islands, equipped to use diesel or liquefied natural gas

BC Ferries has awarded a $165 million contract to Remontowa Shipbuilding of Gdansk, Poland to build three new intermediate class vessels for service on the B.C. coast.

Two will replace the 49-year-old Queen of Burnaby on the Comox-Powell River run and the 50-year-old Queen of Nanaimo on the Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands route. The third will be used for extra capacity in peak and shoulder seasons for the Southern Gulf Islands.

The first new vessel is scheduled to be delivered by August 2016, with the second by October 2016 and the third by February 2017. They will be equipped to use diesel and liquefied natural gas, a first for the BC Ferries fleet.

Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyard was shortlisted along with four foreign builders, but withdrew after winning the contract to build BC Ferries’ new cable ferry to serve Denman Island. With that $15 million project and a share of a major federal contract, Seaspan didn’t have the capacity to bid.