The British Columbia 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 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.
BC Ferries plans to pursue a design-build contract with a shipyard that will be selected through a formal procurement process open to both Canadian and international shipyards. 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.
Technical and financial analyses will be required before final decisions are made on key design elements, including whether the vessels will be fueled by liquified natural gas.