BC Ferries says its C-class ships also need to be replaced, but the first new vessel isn’t expected to be in service for at least five years. File Photo

BC Ferries to invite provincial ship-building firms to bid on Island-class vessels

Vessels serving smaller inter-Island routes up for replacement

B.C.’s ship-building industry will soon get another crack at winning business from BC Ferries.

The company plans to replace three aging vessels currently serving on inter-island routes, including the Mayne Queen, Powell River Queen and Bowen Queen. All three were built in 1965.

While the exact number of new ships to be constructed won’t be known for another couple of weeks – public consultation on desired service levels is helping to determine that figure – they will be known as Island class vessels and carry up to 44 vehicles and 300 passengers and crew.

Two of these ships are currently being built in Romania by Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards Group, for replacement of vessels working Northern Gulf Island routes. Victoria’s Point Hope Maritime won the contract to service the ships for warranty work.

Other B.C. firms will have a chance to bid on construction of however many Island class vessels are to be built for BC Ferries as it gradually refurbishes its fleet.

“Even though [two ships] are being built in other yards, we’re going to go to an open market to build replicas of these ships,” says Mark Wilson, vice-president of strategy and community engagement with BC Ferries.

ALSO READ: B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

The procurement process begins with an expression of interest followed by a request for pre-qualifications, where a company’s history and abilities are assessed, and finally a request for proposals. Wilson noted that all three steps for the smaller vessels should be done by the end of 2018, and the new ships need to be in place by 2021.

The Powell River Queen is one of the vessels that will be replaced by BC Ferries. (BC Ferries)

Five larger C-class vessels, including the Queen of Cowichan, Queen of Coquitlam, Queen of Oak Bay, Queen of Alberni and Queen of New Westminster, will also need to be replaced. These ships, built between 1964 and 1976, provide service between Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay, Duke Point and Tsawwassen, and Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay. Wilson says the procurement process for building these ships is years down the line, although a request for proposals for a design consultant has been made.

“We’re basically looking for a consultant to help us explore options like looking at diesel, LNG and other options,” he said, likening it to hiring a specialist to help a person look at cars before making a purchase.

Any kind of procurement process for the larger vessels are at least a year and a half away, with a goal of getting the first vessel into service by 2023.

ALSO READ: BC Ferries posts strong earnings before rate cuts

Premier John Horgan said Wednesday he would prefer to see ships built in B.C., after the previous Liberal government spent 16 years hiring outside companies in Germany and Poland to build vessels.

“The capacity for the ship-building industry isn’t what it was, but I’m certainly hopeful that we can work with BC Ferries and the ship-building industries to participate in the bids to the extent that we can,” he said.

Wilson said BC Ferries is also hoping they can contract to B.C. companies, but it will come down to cost efficiencies.

“If local industry is competitive, and I sure hope it is, then it will go to locals,” he said. “But price is one of the considerations here, because it affects the price to ferry users.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter
and Instagram

 

BC Ferries’ Powell River Queen, currently servicing the Campbell River to Quadra Island run, is among three vessels to be replaced starting in 2021. Photo courtesy BC Ferries

Just Posted

Large suspected ammo found at Cassidy recycling facility

Area businesses voluntarily evacuated

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

UPDATE: Brush fire in Shawnigan likely caused by cigarette butt

They identified the area as being just after the turnoff to Sooke Lake Road

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Special forces unit to monitor Hells Angels ride on Vancouver Island

Enforcement unit says motorcycle club to hold 35th anniversary ride in Nanaimo

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

VIDEO: Life’s a beach at this B.C. sand sculpting contest

More than $50,000 was up for grabs at the annual contest held in Parksville

Most Read