BC Ferries is planning to replace all five of its C-class fleet with newbuilds, according to media reports in Canada.
It has issued a request for proposals for naval architects to develop construction bid packages and to review proposals from shipyards.
The Canadian ship operator’s aging C-class double-ended ropax vessels - Queen of Alberni, Queen of Coquitlam, Queen of Cowichan, Queen of Oak Bay and Queen of Surrey – went into service in either 1976 or 1981. All were built in British Columbia.
The first new vessel is expected to go into service by 2024.
BC Ferries has been busy updating its fleet over the last two years. In June this year, BC Ferries’ Spirit of British Columbia finished its conversion to enable it to use LNG as fuel.
ABS-classed Spirit of British Columbia was the first to undergo conversion while its sister vessel, Spirit of Vancouver Island, is expected to complete conversion in 2019. These vessels are the largest ships in the BC Ferries fleet with a capacity to carry 2,100 passengers and crew and 358 cars. The conversion to LNG as fuel was completed at Remontowa Ship Repair Yard in Gdansk, Poland.
Last year, the company delivered its first LNG dual-fuelled newbuild Salish Orca, the first in the Salish-class of three ropax ferries.