Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Vancouver Shipyards Shortlisted for Ferry Upgrades

By Mark Edward Nero

BC Ferries, the government-contracted service provider of ferry service along coastal British Columbia, said July 9 that it has shortlisted three shipyards, including one in British Columbia, for its Spirit-class vessels’ midlife upgrades, including conversion to dual fuel so they can operate on liquefied natural gas.

Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards, Remontowa SA of Poland and Fincantieri of Italy were shortlisted from the five shipyards that responded to BC Ferries' request-for-proposals process. More than 20 national and international shipyards expressed interest in the initial stages of the procurement process.

BC Ferries said it would negotiate with the three proponents over the next three to five months to select the final bidder.

Originally, BC Ferries was planning the midlife upgrade (MLU) and LNG conversion for the Spirit of Vancouver Island to occur in the fall of 2016 through the spring of 2017 and that of the Spirit of British Columbia the following year.

However, BC Ferries says it is deferring the project for a year to ensure sufficient equipment procurement lead times, detailed engineering and necessary regulatory approvals, and perform additional financial due diligence. The one-year deferral is expected to allow BC Ferries to obtain even more technical clarity and commercial certainty, while regaining program schedule contingency.

“Due to the complexity of this major project, we need more time for engineering design to ensure we meet our own high standards for delivering major capital projects on time and on budget,” BC Ferries’ vice president of engineering, Mark Wilson, explained.

BC Ferries plans for the Spirit of British Columbia to be the first ship through the MLU and LNG conversion process and commence actual conversion from the fall of 2017 through the spring of 2018. The Spirit of Vancouver Island is expected to follow from the fall of 2018 through the spring of 2019.

BC Ferries said it expects to award a contract for the Spirit-class midlife upgrades and conversions to the successful bidder by late fall of this year.