|MV Galena 1997|
The provincial government owns and use to operate several "licensed" vessels, and a multitude of smaller crafts, throughout the province as ferries, supporting the road transportation network.
|MV Omineca Princess1999|
From my sources, the award of this particular contract has been a "done deal" for some time, but only announced last week. I am interested in this development because I served on most of these vessels during my Marine Engineering apprenticeship. I have fond memories of the vessels, their runs, and crew, and always kept an ear out for them.
The builder, I believe is no stranger to building and operating ferries on the lakes of British Columbia. The person behind Water Bridge Steel, is veteran inland ferry builder and operator, John Harding.
|MV Omineca Princess|
Most people are not aware of the extensive use of commercial vessel operation in BC, coastal and inland, sometimes I forget the scope of it myself. But it is obviously still very much alive and being recapitalized. I am happy to see those crews will get newer vessels, that they will certainly make them last a long time, if history is any indication.
|DEV Galena's VSP|
Additionally, the Marine Branch, the entity within the BC Ministry of Transport that use to operate the "Inland Fleet" or "BC Fresh Water Fleet" - BC Ferries operates the "BC Salt Water Fleet", had many other innovative application to their operations. For instance, the two Albion ferries were some of the first ferries, to my knowledge, that ran on natural gas. The Caterpillar engines (2x 3406 if I remember correctly) were modified to use gas as the primary engine fuel, using a small diesel injection to provide ignition source within the combustion chamber, greatly extending their overhaul periods and such.
You can read the official press release here. Here's local story on it, and some background on the vessels mentioned above. Here is the schedule and a bit of background. All pictures from my own collection, can you believe it !