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

Husky robbery suspect caught

A man suspected of robbing the Husky gas station and convenience store… Continue reading

BCHL Bulldogs are for sale

The Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society seeks a buyer after six full seasons of operation

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

Port Alberni will consider cannabis bylaws at committee of the whole meeting

Members of the public are invited to provide input

Port Alberni Black Sheep win match against Island rivals

Black Sheep squared off against the Nanaimo Hornets for TC Cup action

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Jamie Koe, other curlers kicked out of bonspiel for being too drunk

‘You don’t kick around other players’ bags, it’s disrespectful and we expect better of our players’

Homicide victim found under B.C. bridge identified as Hells Angels member

Chad John Wilson was one of four men arrested in Spain in 2013 on allegations of smuggling cocaine.

B.C. Sikh temple vandalized with racist graffiti

Racist graffiti was found on the side of the building this morning

Shots fired near Chicago hospital, multiple victims: police

Police say at least one possible offender has been shot

B.C. to allow ride hailing services to operate in 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Elections BC keeps eye on Canada Post dispute, but no change in Nov. 30 deadline

Vote No spokesman say an extension of one or two weeks would ensure all ballots are counted

Langley school pulls Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag after student petition

School district promises consultation with students and parents, defends using flag for war history

Most Read