BC Ferries to build three new vehicle ferries

AUGUST 1, 2013—BC Ferries, Victoria, BC, Canada, plans to build three vehicle ferries to replace two aging vessels that are nearing the end of their service lives and are due to retire in 2016. The application to build the new ferries was approved by the BC Ferries Commissioner.

The three new intermediate class vessels will replace the 48-year-old Queen of Burnaby and the 49-year old Queen of Nanaimo. BC Ferries intends to build two vessels capable of carrying 145 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew to replace the Queen of Burnaby, which sails between Comox and Powell River and to replace the Queen of Nanaimo, which services the Tsawwassen–Southern Gulf Islands route. A third vessel capable of carrying 125 vehicles and 600 passengers and crew will also be built to augment peak and shoulder season service on the Tsawwassen–Southern Gulf
Islands route, plus provide refit relief for the other two new ships.

Shown is the Queen of Nanaimo, one of two BC Ferries' vessels that is nearing the end of its service life and needs replacing

“As we begin the next phase of our newbuild program, a key objective is to achieve capital and operating cost savings and efficiencies through an overall class and standardization strategy and a series build program,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ President and CEO.

BC Ferries expects to lower crew training costs with standardized bridge, engine room and accommodation layouts, and lower maintenance costs with standardization of parts and equipment.

One of the technologies that BC Ferries will be considering is Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as fuel to power the new boats. BC Ferries says that while it intends to acquire LNG-fuelled vessels, it wants to conduct further analyses before a final decision.

BC Ferries intends to pursue a design-build contract with a shipyard that will be selected through a formal procurement process. BC Ferries will issue a Request for Pre-Qualification. Canadian and international shipyards are expected to compete for the project, with a contract awarded in January 2014. The two-145 vehicle ferries are expected to be in service in 2016 and the 125-vehicle ferry is expected to enter service in 2017.