The following is the text of a news release from BC Ferries:
(VICTORIA, British Columbia) — BC Ferries’ Queen of Cumberland will undergo an $18 million midlife upgrade (MLU) Nov. 21 to April 17 to prepare the vessel for another 20 years of safe and reliable service. For the duration of the MLU, service on the Swartz Bay-Southern Gulf Islands route will be provided by a combination of the Skeena Queen and the Bowen Queen.
The refit work will be carried out at Esquimalt Drydocking Co., and highlights of the vessel’s extensive upgrade will include the following safety, mechanical and customer service improvements:
• Installation of a new boat deck entrance/exit for walk-on passengers;
• Installation of a new evacuation system and replacement of the rescue boat;
• Installation of a pet area;
• Complete elevator system overhaul;
• Upgrade of stairwells and disabled washroom;
• Upgrade of the ship intercom and public address system;
• Upgrade to CCTV and other security systems.
“A significant upgrade such as the one the Queen of Cumberland is undergoing allows BC Ferries to operate a more efficient vessel for decades into the future,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ vice president of engineering. “We are confident that our customers will see positive results and we hope they are pleased with this commitment to reliable service.”
As the vehicle capacity of the Bowen Queen is lower than that of the Queen of Cumberland, BC Ferries will be deploying the Skeena Queen on the Swartz Bay-Southern Gulf Islands route during the morning and late-afternoon periods to better meet expected demand. The Skeena Queen normally services the Swartz Bay-Fulford Harbour route, where the Bowen Queen will provide service during those same peak times. The vessels will ‘swap routes’ during each weekday.
To maintain the capacity levels to/from Salt Spring Island, BC Ferries is adding sailings to the Swartz Bay-Fulford Harbour and Vesuvius Bay-Crofton routes. The addition of these sailings requires an adjustment to regular sailing times, and customers are encouraged to consult the schedules page of bcferries.com for exact sailing times.