British Columbian ferry operator BC Ferries has issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI) for a new natural gas fuelled new vessel to replace an ageing fleet asset. The competitive bidding process is open to local, national and international shipyards, including consortiums, and BC Ferries encourages local and national companies to bid on these projects.
The RFEOI is for the construction of one 107-metre Salish Class vessel with a capacity of 600 passengers and 138 vehicles. The expected delivery date for this vessel is in 2021.
Three dual-fuel Salish Class ships, Salish Orca, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven, joined the fleet last year. BC Ferries holds the design rights to this class of vessel and will specify that the new vessel is to be built identically to ensure interoperability, which means they will have the capability to be fuelled by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) or marine diesel oil. The design will be provided to the shipyard.
Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Strategy and Community Engagement, says the newbuild, together with four hybrid propulsion vessels “… will help us move toward our ambition to be leaders in the transition to a lower carbon future, and our standardization and interoperability of the fleet. This improves safety, environmental performance and resiliency, and reduces costs”.
In the interest of ferry users, BC Ferries follows best practices in vessel procurement. The RFEOI is the first step in the process to inform industry of the vessel construction opportunities and solicit interest, capacity and capability from all shipyards. The next step will be a Request for Pre-Qualifications, followed by a Request for Proposals. The planned acquisition of the vessels represents a major capital expenditure which will require the approval of the BC Ferries Commissioner.
Source: BC Ferries
Related article: BC Ferries First Salish Class Dual-Fuel Ferry Enters Service