BC Ferries invited local community leaders onboard the MV Kuper for a special ribbon cutting ceremony to welcome the new BC Ferries vessel to the communities of Chemainus, Thetis and Kuper Islands.
The MV Kuper has a very unique history. The hull of the new vessel is comprised from the original structure from the MV John Atlantic Burr, which BC Ferries purchased in 2005 from the State of Utah Transportation Department. That ship was cut into major sections and transported to Tacoma, Washington. These sections were then barged up to Allied Shipbuilders in North Vancouver, where the vessel was rebuilt into the MV Kuper.
Highlights of this major rebuild work included, the addition of a new 11-foot wide longitudinal section in the hull to provide additional car deck space; Upgraded passenger lounge, crew facilities and wheelhouse; Wheelchair accessible washroom facilities for customers; New lifesaving and navigational equipment
; A new propulsion system with two new engines.
The 52-metre MV Kuper will accommodate 300 passengers and 32 vehicles and will be a welcome addition to BC Ferries’ fleet. The ship is named after Kuper Island, which is located in Stuart Channel and is home to the Penelakut First Nations.
The MV Kuper will officially start service in February. The vessel is the first of three new ships that will join BC Ferries’ fleet in 2007.