BC Ferries opens bidding process for five new vessels

Construction of new passenger ships open to local, provincial and national shipyards

BC Ferries has put out the call in an effort to procure five new vessels to replace aging passenger ships.

Four 81-metre Island Class ferries, each with a capacity of 450 passengers and 47 vehicles, are required. The expected delivery date for the first two vessels is 2020 with the following two ships delivered in 2021.

A 107-metre Salish Class vessel with a capacity of 600 passengers and 138 vehicles is also needed with an expected delivery date of 2021.

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

“These new 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,” Mark Wilson, vice-president of strategy and community engagement for BC Ferries, said in a release.

This improves safety, environmental performance and resiliency, and reduces costs, he added.

The bidding is open to local, national and international shipyards, including consortiums through “Requests for Expressions of Interest” (RFEOI).

Two Island Class vessels are currently under construction and three Salish Class ships joined the fleet last year. The Island Class ships will be electric hybrid propulsion, including batteries and the Salish Class will be fuelled with natural gas.

“These new clean-tech vessels will reduce our carbon emissions, helping the province achieve its greenhouse gas reduction targets, and have the added benefit of reducing the amount of underwater radiated noise we produce,” Wilson said.

The five new ships will replace the Bowen Queen, Mayne Queen and Powell River Queen and allow for redeployment of some vessels throughout the fleet.

Replacing one older vessel with two new smaller vessels on the Nanaimo Harbour to Gabriola Island route and the Campbell River to Quadra Island route will improve capacity and frequency.

The passenger count on these runs will more than double from 400 to 900 passengers per hour, while the vehicle carrying capacity will increase by approximately 60 to 94 vehicles per hour.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

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