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

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

Next ship order adds to pair being built now in Romania; larger vessel replacement also on tap

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 still years away, with a goal of getting steps started 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 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

Just Posted

A banana peel worthy of Burning Man

North Saanich artist builds a light-up, laughing sculpture for 70,000 festival-goers

READERS’ CHOICE: Saluting the stars of the Saanich Peninsula

Welcome to the Peninsula News Review’s 13th annual Readers’ Choice Awards, our… Continue reading

The 2018 Summer Sounds Series in Sidney sure to delight

It’s a free musical event that runs all summer long

BCAM slated to get one of last remaining Lancaster bombers

Approval seems certain despite emotional Torontonian appeals

Saanich Peninsula athletes earn their place at B.C. Games

The Saanich Peninsula will be well-represented next week as the 40th annual… Continue reading

BC Games: Day 3 wrap and closing ceremonies

The torch in the Cowichan Valley has been extinguished as Fort St. John gets ready to host the 2020 BC Winter Games

Royal Canadian Navy announces leadership changes in Esquimalt

Commodore Angus Topshee new commander of Canadian Fleet Pacific, naval reserve also gets new leader

Police confirm girl, 8 others injured in Toronto shooting; shooter dead

Paramedics said many of the victims in Danforth, including a child, were rushed to trauma centres

Why do they do it? Coaches guide kids to wins, personal bests at the BC Games

Behind the 2,300 B.C. athletes are the 450 coaches who dedicate time to help train, compete

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Most Read