Marine Log

November 1, 2006

Victoria Shipyards wins BC Ferries reflag job

BC Ferries announced today that Victoria Shipyards has been awarded the contract to perform major modification work on the replacement vessel for the Queen of the North.

In capturing the Canadian $9 million (about US $8 million) contract, Victoria Shipyards was successful over three highly-qualified international yards.

Victoria Shipyards, a Washington Marine Group company, utilizes the Esquimalt Graving Dock, owned and operated by Public Works and Government Services of Canada, and located 15 minutes north of Victoria, B.C.

BC Ferries says it evaluated the bids in accordance with the process specified in the bid documents. Key criteria included the schedule, project plan, contract terms, technical competency and overall price.

"BC Ferries is very pleased that Victoria Shipyards was the successful bidder on this project," said David L. Hahn, BC Ferries' President and CEO. "We look forward to the arrival of the vessel in Canadian waters, which will take us another major step closer to restoring full service to our Northern routes next summer."

The vessel, currently named MV Sonia, is being painted in Greece and preparations for its transatlantic crossing are well underway, including engine modifications to enable the use of cleaner-burning marine diesel fuel.

On November 15, 2006, a crew of BC Ferries' employees is scheduled to sail the ship from Greece to British Columbia. En route, it will travel through the Panama Canal and is expected to arrive at Victoria Shipyards in mid-December.

The modifications that Victoria Shipyards will undertake include:

Updating safety and security equipment
Modifying the stern ramp to be compatible with BC Ferries' berths
Upgrading electrical, heating and lighting systems
Expanding, upgrading and reconfiguring the gift shop, galley, passenger food amenities and crew common areas

The vessel will be renamed and reflagged as a Canadian vessel. It will enter service on BC Ferries' Port Hardy - Prince Rupert - Queen Charlotte Island routes in April 2007.