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BC Ferries orders cable ferry

(L to R) Brian Carter, President Seaspan Shipyards; Mark Wilson, Vice President Engineering, BC Ferries; and Jonathan Whitworth, Chief Executive Officer, Seaspan at contract signing (L to R) Brian Carter, President Seaspan Shipyards; Mark Wilson, Vice President Engineering, BC Ferries; and Jonathan Whitworth, Chief Executive Officer, Seaspan at contract signing

FEBRUARY 27, 2014 —  BC Ferries has awarded Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards of North Vancouver a $15 million contract for the construction of a new cable ferry to service its Buckley Bay – Denman Island route.

After almost ten months of detailed design development, a Request for Proposals for construction of the cable ferry was issued in September 2013 to three shortlisted shipyards; two in Vancouver and one in Seattle. Bids were received in late October 2013 and reviewed by the BC Ferries' project evaluation team. A recommendation to award the contract to Vancouver Shipyards has recently been endorsed by BC Ferries' Board of Directors.

"BC Ferries followed a rigorous, world-wide competitive tendering process for the new cable ferry to ensure we receive a high quality vessel at a competitive price," said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries' Vice President of Engineering. "We are pleased that Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards is the successful bidder and the ship will be built here in British Columbia."

"Seaspan has a long-standing history of working with BC Ferries and we are very pleased they are investing in this new vessel and helping Seaspan invest in its shipyard workers and our new facility," said Brian Carter, President, Seaspan Shipyards. "We are proud to partner with BC Ferries to build its first-ever cable ferry and today's announcement is a further demonstration of our commitment to establishing Seaspan Shipyards as a world-class shipbuilding and ship repair centre of excellence on the West Coast."

Seaspan noted that "this cable ferry, other potential new construction opportunities under evaluation, and the first OFSV maximize Vancouver Shipyard’s available capacity. Based on this fact, Seaspan announces its decision to withdraw from BC Ferries’ December 9, 2013 Request for Proposals (RFP) to build three new intermediate class vessels." Vancouver Shipyards was the only Canadian shipbuilder of the five pre-qualified to bid for the intermediate ferries which will be LNG fueled and will replace the 48-year old Queen of Burnaby and the 49-year old Queen of Nanaimo.

Key highlights of the cable ferry contract include:

  • Fixed-price
  • Guaranteed delivery date
  • Milestone installation payments secured by refund guarantee

"The cable ferry provides substantial cost savings of over $80 million over the 40-year life of the project compared to the current service, and these significant cost savings of $2 million per year will help reduce pressure on future fare increases across the coastal ferry system," said Wilson.

The 78.5 metre cable ferry will accommodate 50 vehicles and 150 passengers. After undergoing extensive crew training and familiarization, the cable ferry system is expected to be in operation on the Buckley Bay – Denman Island route in the summer of 2015.


Gross tonnage: Approx. 750 GT;
Length, overall: Approx. 78.50 m
Breadth, molded: Approx. 17.00 m
Depth molded, to main deck: Approx. 2.10 m
Maximum load draft: Approx. 0.96 m
Maximum displacement: Approx. 870 metric tons;
Prime Mover :Diesel
Brake Power of Prime Movers
Approx. 2 x 300 kW;
Deadweight: Approx. 280 metric tonnes;
RO/RO Freight Capacity: 50 AEQ

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