Seaspan cuts steel on BC Ferries' first cable boat

The following is the text of a news release from BC Ferries:

(VICTORIA, British Columbia) (Sept. 3) — BC Ferries and Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards announced that the first steel cut for the new cable ferry took place today at the shipyard’s sub-assembly building in North Vancouver. The event marks the beginning of the next new vessel that will enter the BC Ferries’ fleet and was recognized at a special ceremony involving representatives from both BC Ferries and Seaspan.

“Today is an exciting day for BC Ferries as we officially begin construction of the cable ferry, which will enter service on our Buckley Bay-Denman Island route next summer,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ president and CEO. “We’re proud of our partnership with Seaspan and we know that they will construct an excellent ship for the millions of customers who will sail on her over the next 40 years.”

“Seaspan has a long and established relationship working with BC Ferries in building and repairing ships for the people of British Columbia, and we are proud to begin construction today of its first-ever cable ferry at our new, state-of-the-art, $185 million facility,” said Brian Carter, president, Seaspan Shipyards. “With community roots tracing back to 1886, Seaspan is a long-serving contributor to British Columbia’s economy and we look forward to continuing to play that role for many years to come through our service to BC Ferries and its customers.”

Five-hundred and seventy-eight tonnes of steel will be used to build the cable ferry. Construction of the cable ferry including system and acceptance trials will take just under eight months. This project will employ between 50 and 100 skilled workers for this duration.

Once complete, the cable ferry will measure 78.5 metres and will accommodate 50 vehicles and 150 passengers and crew. The cable ferry will operate with one drive cable and two guide cables. With a crossing of approximately 1,900 metres, this cable ferry will be the longest one in the world, capable of speeds of 8.5 knots with a normal service speed of 7.5 knots.

The cable ferry provides BC Ferries with substantial cost savings of over $80 million over the 40-year life of the project compared to the current service, and these significant cost savings of $2 million per year will help with fare affordability across the coastal ferry system.

The new cable ferry will provide the same level of service as the current self-propelled vessel on the route; however, with no propellers and three times the fuel efficiency as conventional ferries, a cable ferry is a much more sustainable and “greener” alternative to marine transportation.

By Professional Mariner Staff