BC Ferries’ is taking the next step toward conversion of its two largest ferries, Spirit of Vancouver Island and Spirit of British Columbia, by conducting sea trials in the Saanich Inlet from September 21 – 24. The trials will demonstrate the performance of the vessels for the three shipyards bidding on the mid-life upgrades including conversion to dual-fuel so the ships can operate on liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Each vessel will undergo two days of sea trials to demonstrate the operational profiles of the ships including vessel manoeuverability, acceleration and speed. These trials will provide the shipyards with data on control system parameters as well as peak power loads in variable weather, tide or current conditions experienced when transiting Active Pass.
“This is an important step in the bidding process for the shipyards so they can measure and verify vessel performance to provide the optimal propulsive machinery arrangements they submit as part of their bids,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering.
The three shipyards bidding on the project are Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards, Remontowa SA of Poland and Fincantieri of Italy. Over the next three months, BC Ferries will continue to negotiate with the three proponents to select the final bidder. BC Ferries expects to award a contract for the Spirit Class mid-life upgrades (MLU) and conversions to the successful bidder in early 2016.
BC Ferries is planning for the Spirit of British Columbia to be the first ship through the MLU and LNG conversion process and commence actual conversion from the fall of 2017 through the spring of 2018, and the Spirit of Vancouver Island’s to follow the following year from the fall of 2018 through the spring of 2019.
Under contract to the Province of British Columbia, BC Ferries is the service provider responsible for the delivery of safe, efficient and dependable ferry service along coastal British Columbia.
In July 2014, BC Ferries awarded Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. of Gdansk, Poland contracts totaling $165 million to build three new intermediate class dual-fuel vessels.
(Source: BC Ferries)