BC Ferries has signed a contract with a Polish company to build three new intermediate vessels powered by LNG.
The company Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. of Gdansk of Poland was awarded $165 million for building the fleet of three vessels.
Local shipyard Seaspan was one of five shipyards shortlisted during the bidding process, but was forced to withdraw due to $11.3 billion worth in previous commitments with the federal government’s navy and Coast Guard fleet projects as well as its contract to build BC Ferries’ first cable ferry.
Last year, BC Ferries spent $126 million on fuel and hopes that this new trio of vessels, which will be the first in the fleet to operate on either LNG or diesel, will help to lower its high fuelling costs.
“This is an exciting initiative for BC Ferries that can reduce upward pressure on fares due to lower fuel costs for LNG, and reduce the environmental emissions substantially since LNG is a cleaner and greener fuel compared to current alternatives,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering in a release.
Two of the vessels will be used to replace the Queen of Burnaby, which sails between Comox and the Powell River, and the Queen of Nanaimo, which currently services the Tsawassen-Southern Gulf Islands route. The third will assist operations during peak service times on the Southern Gulf Islands route and provide relief for the rest of the fleet.
Each vessel will be capable of accommodating 145 vehicles and 600 passengers.
The first vessel is expected to arrive by August 2016 with the remaining two to follow in October of that year and the third by February 2017.
Featured Image: BC Ferries