The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is a step closer to taking delivery of two new medium-size ferry vessels. The 42 m vessels will each carry 16 cars and 80 passengers and are under construction at the Kiewit Offshore Services Cow Head Facility near Marystown.
Today, the first of the pair was moved out of the fabrication building at Cow Head Facility to be loaded onto a barge for transportation to the old Marystown Shipyard. Later in the week, it will be lowered into the water via the Marystown Syncrolift. It will be towed back to Cow Head where the vessel's interior will be completed at dockside over the next six to seven weeks and will then undergo several days of sea trials before the Provincial Government formally takes delivery- expected to be in late January 2011. The second ferry is expected to be completed in early March 2011.
The ferries are being built under a 2008 contract valued at Canadian $50.5 million.At that time the first was originally supposed to have been delivered at the end of 2009 and the second in the spring of this year.
Back in September, Transportation and Works Minister Tom Hedderson said the ferries were on budget, but "slightly behind on the anticipated completion date."
"Obviously, there have been some change orders, as with most projects," he said.
Mr. Hedderson told a local newspaper:
"I was surprised to find there's no wheel, that it's (steered using) joysticks. So, again, that tells me that we've got two state-of-the-art vessels in there, and we've got a workforce that certainly is very skilled in putting them together."
Mr. Hedderson noted that a third ferry for the Fogo Island-Change Island run is currently in the design stage, and should be ready to go to tender by September next year.