Marine Log

August 4, 2006

Washington State Ferries newbuilding plan back on track

Washington State Ferries says is again moving forward with its plans to build four new ferries. It has issued additional Request for Proposal (RFP) documents for the design and construction of the vessels. The documents include technical information, contracts and instructions necessary for prequalified shipbuilders to continue with the development of their proposals.

An independent expert review panel reviewed and commented on the RFP documents prior to their release. The panel was selected by WSF, in consultation with the Governor's office, to provide independent expertise throughout the vessel procurement process, and to help WSF identify and overcome project risks and develop contingency plans.

"The panel brings an independent perspective to our process," said Mike Anderson, WSF executive director. "And their expertise and judgment will support delivery of high quality vessels at a fair cost to taxpayers and the ferry-riding public."

The total project cost for the four vessels is estimated at $321 million. WSF expects to have the first vessel under construction in 2008 and ready for service in Fall 2009.

The 144-car, 1,500 passenger ferries are expected to be deployed on the Mukilteo-Clinton, Seattle-Bremerton, and San Juan Islands routes. The ferries will feature the latest technologies, and will be more comfortable and accessible.

The new vessel procurement process is guided by legislation that requires that the vessels be built in Washington following a "design-build" procurement process.

The propulsion system and diesel generators for the new vessels were contracted for under separate RFP's.

The release of the additional RFP documents signals the second phase in the procurement process.

During the first phase three shipyards (J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding, Nichols Brothers Boat Builders and Todd Pacific Shipyards Corporation) qualified as technically and financially capable of building the boats. These shipyards now have the information necessary to decide whether they will bid on the contract.

The RFP can be found on the web at Information about the new vessel program can be found at or by calling Joy Goldenberg at (206)515-3411.