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

City of Duncan considers tougher laws for drug houses

New bylaw gets first three readings by council

Transport truck flips on its side on TCH in Duncan

Workers salvaged milk and ice cream

Somebody ‘saw’ something: North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP seek tool owner

The item was recovered from the area of York Road and Dingwall Street in Duncan.

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

Companies need clearer rules on workplace relationships, study suggests

One-third of Canadians have been in love at work, and half say no policy on the matter exists

WITH VIDEO: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

With three new pups born in May, two more Vancouver Island Marmots… Continue reading

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Most Read