Refit for BC Ferries ship

Canadian ferry operator invests in more fleet upgrades
Refit for BC Ferries ship

By Rebecca Gibson |

BC Ferries’ Queen of Capilano will undergo a CAD$12 million mid-life upgrade between 5 January and 5 May 2015, preparing the vessel for another 20 years of safe and reliable service.

Refit work will be carried out at Esquimalt Drydocking Company, and include various safety, mechanical and customer service improvements.

As part of the project, engineers will install gallery decks to increase the ferry’s capacity from around 85 to 100 vehicles, as well as install a new entrance/exit for walk-on passengers in the upper lounge, a new evacuation system and a pet area. In addition, the rescue boat will be replaced, the elevator system will be overhauled and the stairwell, disabled washroom and the ship’s intercom and public address system will all be upgraded.

“A significant upgrade such as the one the Queen of Capilano is undergoing allows BCFerries to operate a more efficient vessel for decades into the future,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ vice president of Engineering. “Most importantly, the end result is a safe and dependable ferry service for the community of Bowen Island.”

The Bowen Queen will replace Queen of Capilano on the Bowen Island-Horseshoe Bay route for the duration of the refurbishment. As the vehicle capacity of the Bowen Queen is lower than that of the Queen of Capilano, BC Ferries will provide additional services to help mitigate the potential for overloads. This includes a direct-to-downtown bus shuttle, discounted parking at Horseshoe Bay terminal, extra sailings and assured loading for high-occupancy vehicles during key afternoon commuter sailings to Bowen Island.

“The Bowen Island Ferry Advisory Committee (FAC) and BC Ferries worked together during the past year to identify potential issues associated with the Bowen Queen coming on the route,” said FAC chairman Adam Holbrook. “Between this detailed analysis and the additional services BC Ferries is coordinating, this refit should be much smoother than previous experiences for all of us.”

BC Ferries has recently revealed a raft of fleet and service improvements including a plan to build three, dual-fuel intermediate class vessels scheduled for delivery in 2016 and 2017. Earlier this month, Queen of Oak Bay entered Seaspan Vancouver Drydock to undergo a CAD$7.7 million, three-quarter life upgrade, while the BC Ferries Commissioner also approved an application to convert Spirit of Vancouver Island and Spirit of British Columbia to dual-fuel to save around CAD$9.2 million per year over their remaining 27-year lifecycles.

In addition, the line applied to go ahead with its Fare Flexibility and Digital Experience initiative, which proposes significant e-commerce and IT upgrades that will drive customer service improvements and offer more booking options and fare choices.

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