A trio of new LNG-fueled ferries will be built in Poland. BC Ferries says they’ve awarded a $165 million dollar contract to Ramentowa Shipbuilding to build the new vessels, which will replace the aging Queen of Burnaby and Queen of Nanaimo. The third will be a backup for the entire fleet and sail during the peak season on the Southern Gulf Islands route.

Mark Wilson is the Vice President of Engineering at BC Ferries. He says the entire project is going to cost about $252 million, once they factor in $51 million to cover Canadian duties and federal import taxes. Other costs include financing and project management fees that would have been incurred no matter where the vessels were built. Wilson says making the switch the LNG will save money in the long-run.

The 105-meter ships will accommodate 145 vehicles and 600 passengers. They’ll be dual-fuel capable, meaning they can run on Liquefied Natural Gas or diesel.

Wilson says the new intermediate class ferries represent a big step towards their class strategy, which aims to reduce the current 17 classes of ships to just five. He says standardization improves fare affordability by reducing operating costs in terms of crew training and maintenance costs.

Canadian company Seaspan pulled out of the running for the contact, saying they had too much on the go, and Wilson says the Polish company offered the best deal.

Wilson says the first LNG-powered ferry should be delivered in the summer of 2016, and will hopefully be operating by the fall of 2016. The second will be delivered in October 2016 and the third will arrive in BC in February of 2017.

Other highlights of the contracts include:
• Remontowa assumes all design, construction and delivery risk
• Guarantees are in place for vessel completion dates
• Favourable payment terms with 80 per cent payment upon vessel completion
• Vessel performance guarantees related to speed, carrying capacity, maneuverability and fuel consumption
• Warranties above industry standard
• Penalties for late delivery
• Refund guarantee