Gordon Wilson, minister responsible for BC Ferries, congratulated Vancouver Shipyards
for joining with fast ferry designer Kvaerner Fjellstrand of Norway
in an agreement under which the B.C. shipyard will market aluminum fast ferry designs internationally.
"Vancouver Shipyards is the lead contractor on BC Ferries' fast ferry project, and I'm delighted to see that the company's confidence in the international market for high-speed aluminum ferries has grown to the point that it is prepared to take the next step toward a sustainable B.C. fast ferry industry," said Wilson.
"I've said all along that the private sector has to get involved in a more direct way in this industry. The intent behind the establishment of Catamaran Ferries International in the first place was two-fold: on the one hand to provide BC Ferries with high-speed vessels, and on the other to provide the necessary skills, experience and infrastructure to the B.C. industry so that it can compete internationally."
"Clearly, thanks to the provincial government
's fast ferry program, we now have a workforce trained to international standards, as well as the experience and facilities that allow us to go out and compete for fast ferry orders internationally," said Kyle Washington
, president and CEO of the Washington Group, Vancouver Shipyards' parent company.
Vancouver Shipyards' agreement with Kvaerner Fjellstrand gives
the company a licence to market three of Kvaerner's designs, all of which are considerably smaller than the PacifiCat fast ferries under construction for BC Ferries.
"Fast ferries are designed for the specific requirements of individual operators," said Wilson. "CFI is marketing a variety of designs other than the PacifiCat, which was designed to BC Ferries' specifications. Vancouver Shipyards' agreement with Kvaerner adds to the range of high-speed aluminum vessels that can be built in B.C. to the specifications of other operators and will be an excellent complement to CFI's efforts."