The BC Ferries Commissioner has approved BC Ferries’ application to construct three new intermediate class vessels to replace the 48-year old Queen of Burnaby and the 49-year old Queen of Nanaimo. Both of these vessels are nearing the end of their service lives and are scheduled for retirement in 2016. BC Ferries intends to acquire LNG-fuelled vessels.
BC Ferries intends to build two vessels capable of carrying 145 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew to replace the Queen of Burnaby, which sails between Comox and Powell River and to replace the Queen of Nanaimo, which services the Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands route. A third vessel capable of carrying 125 vehicles and 600 passengers and crew will also be built to augment peak and shoulder season service on the Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands route, plus provide refit relief for the other two new ships.
“As we begin the next phase of our newbuild program, a key objective is to achieve capital and operating cost savings and efficiencies through an overall class and standardization strategy and a series build program,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ President and CEO.
BC Ferries intends to pursue a design-build contract with a shipyard that will be selected through a formal procurement process. The Company will be issuing a Request for Pre-Qualification later this month. Canadian and international shipyards are invited to participate in this process. BC Ferries expects to award a contract for this project in January 2014. The two-145 vehicle ferries are expected to be in service in 2016 and the 125-vehicle ferry is expected to
enter service in 2017.
Among the key design elements yet to be finalized are those respecting liquefied natural gas (LNG). While BC Ferries intends to acquire LNG-fuelled vessels, further technical and financial analyses will be required before a final decision is made. These analyses very much depend on the responses to the Request for Proposals. While vessels fuelled with LNG are expected to have a higher initial capital costs than those fuelled with diesel, they are expected to have lower overall life cycle costs, which would have a positive impact on fares.
(Source: British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.)