Poland's Remontowa Shipbuilding has received contracts worth $165m to construct three new liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fuelled intermediate-class vessels for BC Ferries.
Under the contract, Remontowa will design and construct the vessels in compliance with all Transport Canada regulations, as well as international shipbuilding classification standards and environmental regulations.
BC Ferries Engineering vice-president Mark Wilson said: "These are design-build, fixed-price contracts that provide BC Ferries with substantial guarantees related to delivery dates, performance criteria, cost certainty and quality construction."
The shipyard will receive four payments of 5% per vessel during the construction period, while the remaining 80% will be paid upon completion of each vessel.
Classed and delegated to Lloyd's Register of Shipping, the new 105m-long dual-fuel capable vessels will operate using LNG or diesel fuel for propulsion and power generation.
"This is an exciting initiative for BC Ferries that can reduce upward pressure on fares due to lower fuel costs for LNG, and reduce the environmental emissions substantially since LNG is a cleaner and greener fuel compared to current alternatives," Wilson added.
BC Ferries intends to replace its existing ageing vessels, Queen of Burnaby and Queen of Nanaimo, with two new ships that will be designed to accommodate 145 vehicles and 600 passengers.
The third ship will be used to strengthen peak and shoulder season services on the Southern Gulf Islands route, alongside providing refit relief around the fleet.
The delivery of the first vessel is scheduled to take place in August 2016; it is expected to begin operations in autumn the same year after completion of crew training and familiarisation.
Deliveries of the second and third vessels will happen in October 2016 and February 2017 respectively.
Image: A rendering of BC Ferries' new intermediate-class ferries. Photo: courtesy of British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.