Sunday, April 29, 2007

BC Ferries news

You would think I am running a blog on BC Ferries around here.... oh no I am not, it just happens they are in the news allot around here! I promise to post more stuff from other places soon, just been catching up lately on my outstanding tasks. Plus I am working on an update to the main site.

Once again BC Ferries is in the news. The new vessel acquired to replace the Queen of the North (RIP), the Northern Adventure is to be pulled from service for a 10 day refit period at Deas Pacific (Deas Dock in Richmond, BC) to correct "some issues".

The press is all reporting it around here, although I don't see what the big deal is, you are always going to have issues with that kind of ship relocation. Its halfway around the world from where it was designed and built.

On a different note, I wonder how the crew is liking the new boat and what changes in personnel, procedures and attitudes have taken place on board, should be interesting to see. Below is what the Times Colonist is saying... The pictures are from Chriss BC Ferry Photos website, where he has several more pictures of the interior and exterior of the vessel.


By Cindy E. Harnett
Times Colonist staff

Northern Adventure is turning out to be a fitting name for a ferry that just 39 days after $18 million in refits to replace the sunken Queen of the North, will be high and dry again in May for more repairs.

“Some issues cropped up,” said Deborah Marshall, B.C. Ferries’ spokeswoman.

Those issues include a faulty electrical panel, a malfunctioning alarm system, non-functioning elevators and escalators, and toilets that “are not overflowing they’re just not flowing as effectively as possible,” Marshall said.

There’s also grey water backing up, rainwater flooding outside decks, water seeping into the ventilation system, a new radar system from Germany has to be installed and a rail on the cradle for one of four supplementary lifeboats needs repair.

B.C. Ferries didn’t have a cost estimate for the refit. It is scheduled to take place May 9 to 19 at the Deas Pacific Marine facility in Richmond. Transport Canada will have to approve the new radar system.

The Greek-built ship underwent a $9-million refit in Greece to prepare it for voyage and another $9-million at Victoria Shipyards — with finishing touches in Richmond — before the job was completed March 31.

New Democrat MLA Gary Coons accused B.C. Ferries, in an interview yesterday, of rushing the ship into service — pointing to the elevators and escalators not yet being certified for service by the B.C. Safety Authority.

“The [press] release makes it sound like the ship needs a new coat of paint, but it’s more serious than that,” said Coons, who represents the North Coast and acts as NDP critic for ferries and ports.

“These aren’t benign issues ... they’re serious safety concerns, Coons said. “They put it into service too early and there’s a lot of things that need to be done to ensure the safety of crew and passengers.”

Just a week into service in early April, on a trip from the Queen Charlotte Islands to Prince Rupert, a battery of glitches unfolded causing everything from panic to inconvenience.

A fire extinguisher crashed onto the car deck and the dry powder that escaped set off smoke alarms. Crew began knocking on doors, passengers panicked and when the problem was identified, it was discovered that the public address system was malfunctioning; that has since been fixed.

The vessel was tied up for 30 hours in Prince Rupert while crew and technicians attended to problems.

The grey water tank, which takes in water from showers and sinks, also overflowed and ran into the galley, forcing food services to be shut down.

Coons also cited the issue of the sewage system backing up, “which is not just disgusting, but a legitimate health concern.”

But Port Hardy Mayor Hank Bood said the “glitches” are not a surprise and that B.C. Ferries and local mayors were prepared for some operational teething pains as the ship rolled into service.

“The issues they have like the elevator and the PA system not working are not things anyone needs to worry about as far as safety goes,” Bood said.

Port Hardy’s mayor is “just really happy” to have a fairly new ship in service, replacing the Queen of the North, which plowed into Gil Island and sank in March 2006.

Overall, it’s “amazing” B.C. Ferries has replaced the Queen of the North so quickly and the corporation’s plan for routes along the North and Central Coast in the next couple of years are “great,” Bood said.

Northern Adventure, formerly the MV Sonia, was built in 2004 and purchased last year for $51 million last year. With repairs, upgrades, transportation and taxes, the total has reached about $100 million.

Northern Adventure carries about 600 passengers and 101 vehicles, has 70 cabins and can cruise at 20.3 knots.

And....

The first of the new Super C class ferry, Coastal Renaissance, has been launched at the Flensburger Shipyard in Germany. BC Ferries has quite a few pictures and promo material on their site, but my friend sent me a link to a Flickr Online Album of someone at the shipyard. I believe he is an Naval Architect with Flensburger, anyway, his pictures are pretty good and worth a visit the bottom two on this page are his.

Martin

Sustainability in the Marine Industry – Charting a Course

This is your special invitation to attend the Canadian Institute of Marine Engineering, Vancouver Island Branch’s eighth annual conference on June 14 – 15, 2007 at the beautiful Laurel Point Inn bordering Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

Why is it important that you act now? Because of the delegates who attended our Green Marine Conference in 2005, over 70% said, they would be back this year. That means there will be limited space to hear informative presentations on the sustainability of the marine sector including the social/labour, economic, and environmental aspects that effect the West Coast of British Columbia. With our marketing program starting to kick into high gear, and only 120 seats available, you must register now to be a delegate at this years Symposium “Sustainability in the Marine Industry - Charting a Course”.

The program and list of speakers can be found on the symposium web page. Speakers have been selected so that problems common to the whole industry such as aging population and it’s effect on human capital, new or pending environmental regulations etc. can be openly discussed. Discussion panels at the end of each of the two days will allow the audience to participate and have their particular problem or solution discussed.

Exhibitors will also be in attendance and frequent coffee breaks will allow you to explore their displays and find out further information on products and services offered by the exhibitors. Besides the informative symposium program and exhibition, it is a great opportunity to network and expand your business contacts.

You must register to attend and you must register early to avoid disappointment. Remember, there are only 120 registrations available. Register now to guarantee your place. Go to www.vimare.org to download the Registration and Exhibitors Form and fax it to 250-652-9476.

Contact any of the Symposium Contacts on the website for further assistance.

Sincerely,

John Marrack
CIMarE, Vancouver Island Branch Symposium Chair

For more information visit the website
www.vimare.org

Monday, April 23, 2007

Victoria wants to host large yachts

At a recent meeting of the CIMarE, and occasional contributor to this website came to me with some giddy and told me of an upcoming development planned for the harbor of Victoria. The plan put forth by Victoria real estate developer, Bob Evans of Royal Quays Marina Developments, plans for a marina to accommodate up to 14 - 135 foot yacht just outside the inner harbor on the shores of the Songhees waterfront. The whole deal would become known as the Port of Victoria Yacht Club.

The proposal calls for two buildings, one, a fancy restaurant, and the second, a club house with some light commercial frontage. According to my source, Mr. Evans plans to salute Marine Professionals by creating meeting space for the various organization like CIMarE and the Company of Master Mariners to hold regular meetings in.

Along with providing some "legacy like" exposure for the organizations by flying flags of the maritime organization. The project has been in the works for several years but seems to be gaining momentum. You can read about an early presentation about the project in the minutes of the Victoria Harbor Commission's Meeting minutes.

We wish you all the best.

Martin