Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Shortlist for LNG Ferry Contract Revealed

Victoria, British Columbia-based BC Ferries has announced that five shipyards, including one in North America, have made the shortlist for consideration of a contract to build three new liquid natural gas-powered ferries.

BC Ferries has issued a request for proposals to the five shipyards to build three intermediate class ferries to replace the 48-year old Queen of Burnaby and the 49-year old Queen of Nanaimo, both of which are nearing the end of their service lives and are scheduled to be retired in 2016.

The one North American company out of the five pre-qualified shipyards is Vancouver Shipyards Co., an affiliate of Seaspan Marine Corp., which is an association of Canadian companies involved in coastal and deep sea transportation, bunkering, ship repair and shipbuilding services in Western North America.

The other four shipyards under consideration are Fiskerstrand Blrt As, of Norway; Germany-based Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft mbH & Co.KG; Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. of Poland; and Turkish company Sefine Shipyard.

BC Ferries says it intends to build two vessels capable of carrying 145 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew to replace the two aging ferries. A third vessel capable of carrying 125 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew is also being built to augment peak and shoulder season service on the Southern Gulf Islands route, plus provide refit relief around the fleet.

The three would be BC Ferries’ first LNG-powered vessels. In its request for proposals, BC Ferries stipulated that the three vessels be designed to operate on either liquefied natural gas or marine diesel oil.

“We expect to operate these new intermediate class ferries with LNG, which will reduce our fuel costs, and in turn help reduce the upward pressure on fares,” Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering said.

“Currently we operate 18 classes of vessels in a fleet of 35 ships,” Wilson said. “This project is the stepping stone to eventually bring the fleet into potentially five classes of vessels.”

The RFP closes at the end of February and BC Ferries says it expects to award a contract next spring. The two-145 vehicle ferries are expected to enter service in 2016; the 125-vehicle ferry is expected to be in service in 2017.