Tuesday, October 27, 2015

BC Ferries Vessel Undergoing Upgrade

By Mark Edward Nero

British Columbia ferry service provider BC Ferries says its vessel Queen of Cumberland will undergo an $18 million mid-life upgrade from Nov. 21, 2015 to April 17, 2016 to prepare the vessel for another 20 years of service.

The refit work will be carried out at Esquimalt Drydocking Co. in Victoria, BC. Highlights of the vessel’s extensive upgrade include safety, mechanical and customer service improvements, such as the installation of a new boat deck entrance/exit for walk-on passengers; the installation of a new evacuation system and replacement of the rescue boat; installation of a pet area; and a complete elevator system overhaul.

Also planned are upgrades to vessel stairwells, disabled washrooms, the ship intercom and public address system, and 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,” BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering, Mark Wilson, said. “We are confident that our customers will see positive results and we hope they are pleased with this commitment to reliable service.” For the duration of the upgrade, service on the Swartz Bay-Southern Gulf Islands route will be provided by a combination of the ferries Skeena Queen and Bowen Queen.

Since the vehicle capacity of the Bowen Queen is lower than that of the Queen of Cumberland, BC Ferries says it will deploy 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, BC Ferries says.