BC Ferries has today issued a news release indicating that that they have invited Expressions of Interest construction of of four new Island Class (M47) vessels, including two for the Gabriola route
This RFEOI is partially linked to the engagement/survey process carried out over the past 10 days, including the visits to Gabriola and Quadra this Monday and Tuesday. Although the survey seeking public preference of either ‘2 x Island Class or 1 x Shuttle100’ only ended today, BC Ferries says they have received sufficient internal and external indications to now expect to replace Route 19 and 23 vessels by 2022 each with two Island Class (47 vehicle) vessels.
BC Ferries cautions that these plans still require approval from their Board and from the Ferry Commissioner. Board members and the Commissioner have been kept informed as BCF has been conducting analysis of these ideas.
It can be seen in the release that there is still another step (Request for Pre-Qualifications) to undertake even prior to BCF issuing an actual Request for Proposals, which is the step that secures a shipyard to build these vessels. BC Ferries will be opening the RFP to all shipyards within BC, across Canada and internationally… and even though two Island Class vessels are already being built in Europe, these shipyards will still have to bid if they wish to compete for the new contract as BCF owns the design and the new contract will be to build to the existing design, with the goal to award contracts by the end of 2018.