Sun setting on foreign ferries?

An $8 billion federal contract for Coast Guard and navy ships could mean the end of ferries built in foreign shipyards, B.C. government officials say.

Two of BC Ferries' three German-built coastal class ferries at the dock at Swartz Bay.

VICTORIA – An $8 billion federal contract for Coast Guard and navy support ships could mean the end of ferries built in foreign shipyards, B.C. government officials say.

Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell said Thursday the upgrades to Seaspan facilities in North Vancouver and Victoria to construct seven new vessels will make the company more competitive, particularly for specialty ships like the icebreaker that is part of the contract.

Both Bell and Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom defended the decision by BC Ferries to contract with a German shipyard for three new large ferries delivered in 2007 and 2008.

Lekstrom said he supported the decision by BC Ferries to use competitive bidding, and suggested there would be a “taxpayer revolt” if the B.C. government put local construction ahead of cost. Bell agreed.

“The incremental cost of having built those other three ferries here would have been enormous, so I think it was the right decision at the time,” Bell said. “The good news is, with the advantages we’re gaining through this contract, that probably won’t happen again.”

Premier Christy Clark noted that smaller ferries have continued to be built in B.C., and the expansion of B.C. shipyard will increase their ability to compete on cost with European or Korean shipyards.

Bell said it’s unlikely that B.C. will go into the competitive market for freighters, but it has a chance to sell expertise in niche markets such as icebreakers abroad.

Just Posted

Paintings by Syrian father and son end long journey at VISAC Gallery in Trail

The paintings on display at the VISAC Gallery in Trail have been through a lot

Thoughtexchange asks Rossland Council to support mixed-use on midtown lands site

A representative from Thoughtexchange attended Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Rossland remembers

Hundreds gathered for Remembrance Day ceremonies Saturday on Rossland’s main street.

Seven Summits celebrates grand opening

“Over 1,000 volunteer hours went into this renovation.”

Seven Summits Centre for Learning in Rossland receives $5,000 for robotics program

The local learning centre has received $5,000 from Telus for a robotics program.

100,000 bulbs shine bright for Lights of Hope

St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver launched its annual campaign to raise funds for equipment, research

Hammy dodges conservation officers

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Riverview youth mental health centre proceeds

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Trudeau mania, Scheer enthusiasm in B.C. this week

Prime minister, Conservative leader drop in on Surrey, White Rock

B.C. church defaced with disturbing anti-Christian graffiti

Staff at Crossroads United Church reported the vandalism to police late last week

Most Read