No preference for B.C. shipyards

BC Ferries is calling for bids internationally to build three new medium-sized ferries

Transportation Minister Todd Stone

VICTORIA – BC Ferries has received approval to construct three new medium-sized vessels, and the B.C. government is leaving it up to the corporation to decide where they are built.

“Certainly we’d be very supportive of the ships being built in British Columbia,” Transportation Minister Todd Stone said Tuesday. “Government does not have the purview to dictate to BC Ferries who can and cannot participate in their procurement process. That’s internal to BC Ferries.”

BC Ferry Commissioner Gord Macatee announced approval Tuesday to replace two old ferries scheduled for retirement in 2016. The 48-year-old Queen of Burnaby serves the Comox-to-Powell River run, and the 49-year-old Queen of Nanaimo sails on the Tsawwassen-Gulf Islands circuit.

BC Ferries announced Tuesday it will invite qualified bids for two replacement ships with capacity for up to 145 vehicles and 600 passengers. A third with room for 125 vehicles and 600 passengers will be used for peak-season service on the Gulf Islands run and replacement duty when the other two are undergoing maintenance.

Qualified Canadian and international shipyards will be invited to bid, with a contract to be awarded by January 2014. BC Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan said the focus is on cost savings and standardization of vessels, many of which now have different deck heights and dock requirements.

The Coastal Ferries Act requires the BC Ferries Commissioner to approve capital expenditures. The order for these ferries specifies that construction must be open to a pool of bidders, and that food and retail services on board must not be subsidized by fare revenue.

The last major contract was for three Coastal-class ferries, completed by a German shipyard in 2007 and 2008. They now serve the main Vancouver Island runs.

Corrigan said BC Ferries will examine whether new ships can be run on liquefied natural gas instead of diesel. That increases the construction cost, but fuel savings are projected to pay for themselves in as little as eight years.

Brian Carter, president of Seaspan Shipyards, which operates two facilities in North Vancouver and Victoria Shipyards in Esquimalt, said the announcement is “great news for B.C. Ferries and great news for the overall marine industry in the region.”

Seaspan is currently five months into design work, with construction due to start next spring or summer on a contract to build vessels for the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard. The company will assess its capacity to take on such a B.C. Ferries contract once it determines the specifics of the request, Carter said.

While Seaspan has never built an LNG powered vessel, Carter said the manufacture of LNG equipment would likely take place off site.

In terms of competing against foreign firms, he said the federal shipbuilding program is giving the company and the B.C. industry in general more competitive capabilities every day.

“True efficiencies [will be] gained once we start constructing vessels.”

 

Just Posted

Comox Valley medical cannabis business growing despite impending legalization

With nearly a month to go until new cannabis legalization laws come… Continue reading

Humpback whales visit Cape Lazo

Peter Hamilton with Lifeforce Ocean Friends snapped these photos of some humpback… Continue reading

Valley Father-daughter duo share a special bond over a kidney

Annual kidney walk is set for Sept. 23 at Simms Park

Stolen Victoria vehicle crashes in Black Creek

On Sept. 15, 2018 at approximately 10:45 p.m., the Comox Valley RCMP… Continue reading

Courtenay getting a tool library

New facility allows do-it-yourselfers to borrow tools

VIDEO: Messages of hope, encouragement line bars of B.C. bridge

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Fresh-faced Flames fend off Canucks 4-1

Vancouver drops second straight NHL exhibition contest

Scheer pushes Trudeau to re-start Energy East pipeline talks

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer questioned the Prime Minister over Trans Mountain project

Mistaken identity: Missing dog claimed in Moose Jaw belongs to another family

Brennen Duncan was reunited with a white Kuvasz that was found in Saskatchewan

Abandoned kitten safe and sound thanks to B.C. homeless man

‘Jay’ found little black-and-white kitten in a carrier next to a dumpster by a Chilliwack pet store

Police chief defends controversial marijuana seizure

Advocates said cannabis was part of an opioid-substitution program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Trans Mountain completes Burrard Inlet spill exercise

Training required, some work continues on pipeline expansion

Most Read