Tuesday, December 2, 2014

$7.7 Million Ferry Upgrade Project Begins

By Mark Edward Nero

The BC Ferries vessel Queen of Oak Bay began the first phase of a multi-million dollar three-quarter life upgrade Nov. 28 at Seaspan Marine’s Vancouver Drydock in North Vancouver. The 33-year old ferry can carry 360 vehicles and 1,488 passengers and crew.

The extensive upgrade comprises multiple safety and mechanical improvements, including critical systems renewals, propulsion overhauls; electrical distribution upgrades; energy efficiency upgrades, including LED lighting in machinery compartments and HVAC enhancements; and large scale steel renewal.

Following the first phase of this major project, the vessel is scheduled to return to the Horseshoe Bay–Departure Bay route in February 2015. The Queen of Coquitlam is replacing the Queen of Oak Bay for the time being.

The second phase of the Queen of Oak Bay’s three-quarter life upgrade is scheduled from November 2015 through February 2016 at BC Ferries’ Fleet Maintenance Unit in Richmond, where the remaining scope of the project includes upgrades to the passenger accommodations and services, energy efficiency upgrades, installation of state-of-the-art bridge and navigation systems, renewal of the steering systems, further electrical upgrades and replacement of end-of-life equipment.

“The Queen of Oak Bay project is part of the approximately $150 million that BC Ferries will spend in BC this year alone on annual vessel maintenance, refits and vessel upgrades,” Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering, said. “This extensive upgrade is an important investment in one of our major vessels which will ensure we maintain a safe, reliable and efficient service.”

The Queen of Oak Bay is the first of C-Class vessel to undergo a three-quarter-life upgrade.

The Queen of Surrey will follow with the first phase of a three-quarter-life upgrade in Feb 2016, while the remaining C-Class vessels are set to undergo smaller asset betterments over the next four years, starting with the Queen of Coquitlam in September 2015.