Canada plans to buy ferry from Fjord1 as interim Holiday Island replacement

Written by Nick Blenkey

The Fanafjord would serve as an interim replacement solution until a new ferry is completed by Davie Shipbuilding. [Image: LMG Marin]

Transport Canada plans to buy a 2007-built Norwegian double-ended car passenger ferry, the Fanafjord, to replace the M/V Holiday Island, one of two vessels used to provide service between Wood Islands, PEI, and Caribou, Nova Scotia.

Designed by LMG Marin, the Fjanafjord was delivered to Fjord1 by Aker Yards Brattvåg in 2007.

Back in 2019, Canada announced plans to build two ferries at Davie Shipbuilding to replace both the Holiday Island and the M/V Madeleine, which is currently used for service between Îles‑de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, and Souris, Prince Edward Island (PEI),

Both ferries are elderly. The Madeleine was delivered in 1981 by the Verolme Cork shipyard in Ireland and served under various names on Irish Sea services until 1997. The Holiday Island is even older. It was built in 1971 by the Government of Canada for Canadian National Railways (CNR) at Port Weller Dry Docks.

At the time it announced its plan for the two newbuilds at Davie, Public Services and Procurement Canada said that both the ferries being replaced were nearing the end of their lifetime. Last summer, the Holiday Island’s last crossing, on July 22, 2022, ended in an engine room fire that caused severe damage and it was withdrawn from service. Subsequently, Transport Canada issued an RFP for its disposal.

Yesterday, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), on behalf of Transport Canada, published an Advance Contract Award Notice (ACAN) to signal the government’s intention to purchase the MV Fanafjord, from a subsidiary of Fjord1. The ACAN allows other interested suppliers that meet the minimum operational requirements of Transport Canada 15 calendar days to submit a statement of capabilities before a contract is awarded. If no other supplier submits a statement of capabilities that meets the requirements highlighted in the ACAN, PSPC may proceed with awarding a contract to the owner of the MV Fanafjord, which would be expected to enter service in early May 2024.

The ACAN goes into extensive details on Transport Canada’s requirements for the interim Holiday Island replacement vessel and notes:

Following third party surveys in 2022 and 2023, the proposed MV Fanafjord passenger ferry vessel owned by Nye Fanafjord AS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fjord1, is the only known vessel available for purchase that can meet TC’s interim ferry capability within the required timeframes.

There is only one supplier capable of performing the work because:

  • Nye Fanafjord AS owns the only known vessel that is capable of meeting the requirements for the route from both a regulatory and operational perspective (e.g., Near Coastal Voyage, Class 2, vehicle and passenger capacities, speed, maneuverability, interaction with TC’s existing infrastructure without significant changes, etc.);
  • Nye Fanafjord AS, and its subcontractors, have demonstrated experience and capacity to manage projects of similar complexity; and
  • Nye Fanafjord AS is the only known supplier that can provide the vessel and transfer ownership to Canada by March 1, 2024.

There’s no mention of price in the ACAN, but Norwegian shipbroker J. Gran & Co. has the Fanafjord listed with an asking price of EUR 14 million and notes that it is LNG fueled. This is interesting, because buried in the ACAN’s list of requirements is that the “the proposed vessel must operate on diesel fuel.”

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