Friday, May 8, 2015

BC Ferry Back in Service After Upgrade

By Mark Edward Nero

The 23-year-old BC Ferries vessel Queen of Capilano recently completed a $12 million midlife upgrade that began Jan. 5 and ended May 5. The ship returned to service in time for a May 6 afternoon sailing from Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island.

The refit work was carried out at Esquimalt Drydocking Co. in Victoria, British Columbia. Highlights of the vessel’s extensive upgrade include numerous safety, mechanical and customer service improvements, such as:

• Installation of gallery decks, increasing capacity from about 85 to 100 vehicles.
• Installation of a new entrance/exit for walk-on passengers in the upper lounge.
• Installation of a new evacuation system and replacement of the rescue boat.
• Installation of a pet area.
• Update to stairwell and disabled washroom.
• Update to the ship intercom and public address system.

The 314-foot-long Queen of Capilano has room for 85 vehicles and 451 passengers and crew members. It runs between Bowen Island and Horseshoe Bay. While it was being serviced, B.C. Ferries provided other services, such as a shuttle bus and more sailings, while the smaller Bowen Queen filled in.

“These significant improvements were made to provide a better traveling experience for our customers and prepare the Queen of Capilano for another 20 years of safe and reliable service,” said Corinne Storey, BC Ferries’ vice president of customer services. “We thank customers for their patience while the vessel underwent this necessary work and a smaller vessel provided the service.” BC Ferries, under contract to the Province of British Columbia, is the service provider responsible for the delivery of ferry service along coastal British Columbia.