Marine Log

September 19, 2006

BC Ferries buys MV Sonia

Confirming weeks of speculation, BC Ferries says it has reached an agreement for the purchase of a two-year old vessel currently named the MV Sonia, to replace the Queen of the North.

The deal, worth 35.7 million Euros or approximately $50.6 million Cdn, will see BC Ferries taking ownership of the vessel in the next few weeks. The 117 metre ship has 70 state rooms and will accommodate over 600 passengers and 101 vehicles.

The vessel underwent extensive surveys by the BMT Group, a world-leading naval architect firm, as well as a team of BC Ferries personnel.

The vessel is currently operating out of Barcelona, Spain.

"We are extremely pleased to acquire this ship so that full service can be restored for the summer of 2007 to the north coast," said David L. Hahn, BC Ferries' President and CEO. "This acquisition sends a clear message to the global tourism industry that BC Ferries' Inside Passage route will be open for business next year."

The vessel will undergo approximately $18 million in modifications this winter to improve customer amenities and meet safety requirements to operate in Canadian waters. As part of the process, the ship will be reflagged and renamed, and is expected to enter service next spring, in time to relieve the Queen of Prince Rupert for its annual refit.

Just last month, BC Ferries announced that a contract has been awarded to construct a new vessel to replace the Queen of Prince Rupert. This ship is expected to enter service in the spring of 2009