The following is the text of a news release from BC Ferries:
(VICTORIA, British Columbia) — BC Ferries continues to roll out its vessel class and standardization strategy to achieve operating cost savings and efficiencies, awarding Damen Shipyards Group of the Netherlands a contract to build two new minor class vessels that are scheduled to go into service in 2020.
Damen has entered into an agreement with Point Hope Shipyards of Victoria, B.C., to provide technical and warranty support for the new vessels, ensuring repair and maintenance activities will be performed in British Columbia.
BC Ferries has been carrying out a public participation process with the communities that will be served by the new vessels. This allows communities input in the vessel design and operation. The first of three phases is complete with two more phases to follow before the end of this year.
The first of the new vessels will be deployed on the Powell River-Texada Island route, replacing the 59-year-old North Island Princess, which will be retired from the BC Ferries fleet. The second vessel will replace Quadra Queen II on the Port McNeill-Alert Bay-Sointula route. Quadra Queen II will become a relief vessel, allowing for fleet redeployments and the retirement of the 53-year-old Howe Sound Queen.
The agreement 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. The total project budget, which includes financing and project management costs, is approximately $86.5 million CAD. As announced on March 31, this project is partially funded by the government of Canada.
The two minor class vessels will have the capacity to carry at least 44 vehicles and up to 300 passengers and crew. They will have a number of key features that support BC Ferries’ goal to be efficient and environmentally responsible throughout its system. Highlights include:
• A hybrid diesel electric-battery power generation and propulsion system that uses onboard electric battery power for operation of the vessel. Electric propulsion is quiet, smooth and efficient compared to traditional diesel propulsion. The design allows for future expansion of the onboard battery capacity to permit full electric operation when the shoreside charging capacities are available.
• Engines which operate on ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, which has lower environmental impact than regular marine diesel oil. The Tier III compliant diesel engines also have low NOx and particulate emissions.
• Hull, propeller and thruster design that minimizes underwater radiated noise.
• Arrangements to minimize shipboard vibration and airborne noise to improve conditions for communities, passengers and crew.
• A fully contained wastewater handling system which eliminates discharges to the sea.
BC Ferries issued a request for expressions of interest (RFEOI) for the design and construction of the vessels to leading shipyards in Canada and around the world in March 2016. In the lead-up to this process, BC Ferries raised awareness of the upcoming tender to Canadian shipyards through such forums as the Canadian Ferry Association, the Association of British Columbia Marine Industries and other local and national industry events. Canadian shipyards were invited to participate in the competitive bidding process.
In the end, BC Ferries received responses from 28 national and international shipyards and short-listed 12 shipyards to proceed to the request for proposal (RFP) stage, including five Canadian shipyards. BC Ferries received four compliant RFP responses, however, none of the shortlisted Canadian companies submitted a bid.
Damen operates multiple international shipyards and will build BC Ferries’ new ships at Damen Shipyards Galati, in Romania. The company has considerable engineering expertise and a proven track record in delivering ferries and other vessels from numerous international shipyards. Damen has over 9,000 employees and 33 shipyards around the world.