$7.7-million upgrade for Queen of Oak Bay

Source: Times Colonist
Author: Carla Wilson
Published Date: November 28, 2014

A $7.7-million update to the Queen of Oak Bay is starting at Seaspan’s Vancouver Drydock.

It is the first of B.C. Ferries’ C-class vessels to go through a three-quarter- life upgrade.

The 457-foot Queen of Oak Bay is 33 years old. It has capacity for 360 vehicles and 1,488 passengers and crew.

Along with the Queens of Coquitlam and Cowichan, Oak Bay went through extensive upgrading in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Each vessel had another 100 tonnes of steel either replaced or added. The ferries sail mainly between Departure Bay at Nanaimo and Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver.

This year, B.C. Ferries is spending about $150 million to upgrade its fleet.

“This extensive upgrade is an important investment in one of our major vessels [and] will ensure we maintain a safe, reliable and efficient service,” Mark Wilson, vice-president of engineering, said in a statement.

Work on the Queen of Oak Bay will include safety and mechanical improvements, such as upgrades to piping, equipment, electrical, elevators and propulsion overhauls.

New steel will also be installed. After work wraps up at Seaspan’s dockyard, the next stage will see the ship move to Ferries’ fleet maintenance unit in Richmond.

It will be there from November 2015 through February 2016.

“The remaining scope of the project includes upgrades to the passenger accommodations and services, energy-efficiency upgrades, installation of new bridge and navigation systems, renewal of the steering systems, further electrical upgrades and replacement of end-of-life equipment,” Ferries said.

Plans call for the three-quarter-life upgrade to the Queen of Surrey to start in early 2016.

Small improvements are planned with the Queen of Coquitlam in fall 2015.

The keel was laid Friday for the $15-million cable ferry, to run between Denman and Hornby Islands, at Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyard.

Laying the keel signifies the start of a vessel’s construction.