BC Ferries upgrade starts

Vancouver's Seaspan yard starts CAD$7.7m refit of Queen of Oak Bay
BC Ferries upgrade starts

By Rebecca Gibson |

BC Ferries has started a CAD$7.7 million, three-quarter life upgrade on The Queen of Oak Bay at Seaspan’s Vancouver Drydock in North Vancouver, Canada.

During the refit, Seaspan’s engineers will carry out extensive safety and mechanical upgrades. They will renew piping and equipment, overhaul the propulsion systems, upgrade the electrical distribution and elevators, install local application water mist systems on the main engine room machinery, fit LED lighting in machinery compartments and upgrade the HVAC systems. Engineers will also carry out large-scale steel renewal and regulatory surveys.

“The Queen of Oak Bay project is part of the approximately $150 million that BC Ferries will spend in BC this year alone on annual vessel maintenance, refits and vessel upgrades,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ vice president of Engineering. “This extensive upgrade is an important investment in one of our major vessels which will ensure we maintain a safe, reliable and efficient service, and in the process, staying focused on fare affordability for the benefit of our customers.”

Following the first phase of this major project, the 33-year old Queen of Oak Bay, which carries 360 vehicles and 1,488 passengers and crew, will return to the Horseshoe Bay –Departure Bay route in February 2015. Until this date, she will be replaced by the Queen of Coquitlam.

Between November 2015 and February 2016, Queen of Oak Bay will undergo another refit at BC Ferries’ Fleet Maintenance Unit in Richmond. During this phase, the company will upgrade passenger accommodations and services, improve the ship’s energy efficiency and electrical systems, install state-of-the-art bridge and navigation systems, renew the steering systems and replace end-of-life equipment.

The Queen of Oak Bay is the first of C-Class vessel to undergo a three-quarter life upgrade, while The Queen of Surrey will follow with the first phase of her three-quarter life upgrade in February 2016. The remaining C-Class vessels will undergo smaller asset improvements over the next four years, starting with the Queen of Coquitlam in September 2015.

Meanwhile, the keel for BC Ferries’ first ever cable ferry has been laid at Seapsan’s Vancouver yard.

In keeping with maritime tradition, the keel-laying ceremony was marked by the placing of a silver bullion coin into the vessel. The commemorative coin will remain in the same position throughout the vessel’s service life.

“This event marks a major milestone in the project as we lay the foundation for the cable ferry,” said Wilson. “The cable ferry is the first ship in this next phase of our vessel replacement programme in which we strive to deliver the same levels of safe and reliable service our customers expect with a continued focus on fare affordability through capital and operating cost savings.”

Once complete, the cable ferry will measure 78.5 metres in length and will accommodate 50 vehicles and 150 passengers and crew. After undergoing extensive crew training and familiarisation, the cable ferry system is expected to be in operation on the Buckley Bay – Denman Island route in summer 2015.

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