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.”

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP say $14K in stolen phones recovered following investigation

Police say phones reportedly being sold on Facebook Marketplace

Semiahmoo First Nation declares local state of emergency

Parking lots, beach access on SFN lands closed due to COVID-19

Young Muslims offer helping hand to isolated residents throughout Lower Mainland

Neighbourhood Helper campaign aims to get help to people who can’t leave their homes

Regional parks in Delta closed for the long weekend

Boundary Bay and Deas Island parks closed ‘until further notice’ on Thursday, April 9

VIDEO: B.C. singer creates frontline workers tribute song

Cambree Lovesy’s song saluting those battling COVID-19 draws interest online

Researchers to study whether plasma of recovered patients can treat COVID-19

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that contains the antibodies that protect against illness

B.C., Alberta health ministers urge public to stay home Easter weekend

Regional politicians, online petition calling for closure of provincial border to non-essential traffic

Human rights complaint over city’s Pride flag tossed out

Kari Simpson’s attempt to block Langley City’s flag raising has failed

Abbotsford prison has confirmed COVID-19 case

Pacific Regional Treatment Centre is the third prison in B.C. in one week to confirm case

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

Canadian Olympian diagnosed with heart failure, possible exposure to COVID-19

Olympic soccer star Karina LeBlanc diagnosed with pleural effusion

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

B.C. First Nations Health Authority launches virtual doctor program

Program to provide primary health care through COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read