When BC Ferries needed upgrades for their newest vessel, the Northern Sea Wolf, they put out a wide call for bids.
After a rigorous selection process, the Esquimalt Drydock was awarded 20 million dollars in contracts by BC Ferries. These contracts included $2 million for the construction of docking and underwater components, and 18 million dollars for contractors and supplies. Upgrades also cover a new coat of paint, enhanced navigational equipment, and various safety improvements.
The project will take four months and employ 100 people of all trades backgrounds. It provides other economic benefits as well, such as an increase in tourism.
Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President, mentioned that working with the Esquimalt Drydock “supports our objective of long term, sustainable ferry service for coastal communities.”
The 20 million dollars is part of the BC Ferries program that awards over 10 million dollars
every year for shipyards in B.C.
The Northern Sea Wolf’s debut has been a long time coming.
BC Ferries originally purchased the 17-year-old vessel, at the time called the Aqua Spirit, for 12.6 million dollars. The ship is setting out to provide a luxury experience, and with a one way trip costing 602.25 dollars per vehicle, the price reflects that. Along the 10 hour route from Port Hardy to Bella Coola, the Sea Wolf strives to provide passengers with sights including humpback whales and B.C.’s vast old-growth rainforests.
Once the Northern Sea Wolf is ready, it will be able to hold a minimum of 35 vehicles and 150 foot passengers as it takes them through the new Port Hardy route by next summer.