Following an extensive, multi-phased international tender process, Canadian ferry operator BC Ferries has awarded Damen Shipyards Group a contract to construct two 81-meter (266') ferries. The vessels are part of BC Ferries’ ongoing fleet renewal program.
Both vessels will be constructed at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania and are expected to enter service in 2020. The new ferries wil be able to carry approximately 44 vehicles and up to 300 passengers and crew.
BC Ferries operates 24 ferry routes along the coast of British Columbia, Canada. The new vessels will be able to cover many of the company’s routes to the northern and southern Gulf Islands off the coast of Vancouver. Part of a fleet renewal program, the new ferries will replace the 59-year old North Island Princess and the 53-year old Quadra Queen II.
Damen initially submitted its vessel designs to BC Ferries in March 2016 in response to a Request for Expressions of Interest that the Canadian company issued to the international shipbuilding industry. After attracting interest from no less than 28 shipyards, the highly competitive tender process proceeded in October 2016 when short-listed companies — including five Canadian shipyards — were invited to submit their bids. Damen was selected as the subsequent winner of this tender process.
Damen has an agreement with Point Hope Shipyards in Victoria, British Columbia to perform any warranty work locally on these vessels. No other boat specifications have been released at this time.
“This is a design-build, fixed-priced contract that provides BC Ferries with substantial guarantees related to delivery dates, performance criteria, cost certainty and quality construction,” Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ vice president of engineering, said in a statement announcing the project. “A key objective of BC Ferries’ fleet renewal program and the acquisition of these two minor class vessels is to achieve capital and operating cost savings and efficiencies through an overall class and standardization strategy.”
“We are extremely proud to be constructing these two ferries for British Columbia,” Damen Leo Postma, Damen sales manager, said in the prepared statement. “Furthermore, we are looking forward to further developing our existing relationship with BC Ferries by building safe, reliable, high quality ferries contributing to BC Ferries’ vessel replacement programme.”