BC Ferries announced that it has signed a $41m contract with Vancouver Shipyards
, a Washington Marine Group company
, to build a new 125-car intermediate size ferry. Construction on the 100 m vessel will begin later this year and the ship is expected to enter service by the summer of 2008.
The new intermediate vessel will allow for the retirement of the 46-year-old Queen of Tsawwassen. The new ship will initially sail on the Earls Cove - Saltery Bay route on the Sunshine Coast. The design of the
vessel includes a comfortable lounge, a snack bar and a new state-of-the-art lifesaving system.
The process for selecting the successful builder was started last year with 14 shipyards invited to participate in the prequalification process for the intermediate vessel, as a result of which two Canadian shipyards and one international yard were short listed. Last year, the three yards submitted bids in response to the Request for Proposals and, on September 20, 2005, BC Ferries signed
a formal letter of intent with the Washington Marine Group.