Ferries to be Sold at Unreserved International Auction

Friday, January 10, 2003
Three PacifiCat-class fast ferries capable of carrying 1,000 passengers and 250 vehicles at speeds of up to 34 knots will be sold at an international, unreserved public auction March 24 at Canada Place, Vancouver, by Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers.

The 400-ft. (122-m) aluminum vessels, PacifiCat Explorer, PacifiCat Discovery and PacifiCat Voyager, are among the largest catamaran fast ferries in the world, and were designed by Phil Hercus of Incat Designs, Sydney, Australia, and built in British Columbia, Canada, in March 1999, September 1999 and July 2000 respectively. Current owner BC Ferries has determined that the vessels, which have seen very little service, are not suited to the high level of commercial trucks and buses on its ferry routes. President and Chief Operating Officer of Ritchie Bros., Randy Wall, said that an international unreserved public auction and Ritchie Bros.’ proven ability to deliver a global marketplace will attract motivated buyers from around the world and ensure that the vessels sell on March 24 for the best possible price. To assist in the global effort, Ritchie Bros. has retained marine consultant Stephen Phillips, managing director of Seaspeed Technology Limited in West Sussex, U.K., who is also a specialist in fast ferries. “With no minimum bids, reserve prices or buy backs, our customers bid with confidence, knowing that every bid is legitimate,” said Wall. “It is absolutely certain that all three of these state-of-the-art PacifiCats will have a new owner upon completion of the auction.”

Ritchie Bros., which last year held over 140 auctions in ten countries with gross auction sales of more than US$1.37 billion, sells industrial assets exclusively by unreserved auction. On average its auctions attract about 1,100 bidders. The owner of the three vessels is BC Ferries of Victoria, B.C., Canada. BC Ferries Interim President and CEO Doug Allen said Ritchie Bros., combined with the international marine expertise of Stephen Phillips of Seaspeed Technology, is an excellent choice to sell the vessels. “Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers is a company that can give us the global exposure we need and has a proven track record in attracting the right buyers and delivering results.”

The PacifiCat fast ferries have many unique features that provide fast, efficient vessel turnaround and enhance vessel monitoring and control. Bow and stern doors allow quick drive-through loading and unloading; upper and lower vehicle decks can be loaded simultaneously; the vessels can be remotely monitored in real time for position, speed, trim, jet angles and RPM; a 287 kW bow thruster improves maneuverability at low speeds; and an integrated bridge system allows enhanced safety monitoring, control and crew deployment. Each vessel is fitted with a 246 square ft. galley located on the main passenger deck with a complete range of appliances, a snack bar, a gift shop, and an arcade room. Most passenger seating is lounge-style. Also available by unreserved auction are large amounts of spares and components for all the PacifiCats' systems including MTU engines, components and tooling; dishes; clothing; generator parts; marine electronics; hydraulics parts and sewage treatment parts.

The three PacifiCats will be sold by live auction at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time at the Canada Place cruise ship terminal, Vancouver, B.C. Bidders will also be able to participate in the auction over the Internet using the rbauctionBid-Live service from their own office or from one of Ritchie Bros.’ auction facilities in Toronto, Canada; Orlando, U.S.; Baltimore, U.S.; Moerdijk (Rotterdam), the Netherlands; Dubai, the United Arab Emirates; Singapore; Brisbane, Australia; and Toluca (Mexico City), Mexico. Interested bidders must first register with Ritchie Bros. and will be required to file a $2 million deposit to bid on the vessels. Full details about the auction are available on the Ritchie Bros. web site (www.rbauction.com).

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