Sun setting on foreign ferries?

An $8 billion federal contract for Coast Guard and navy ships could mean the end of ferries built in foreign shipyards, B.C. government officials say.

Two of BC Ferries' three German-built coastal class ferries at the dock at Swartz Bay.

VICTORIA – An $8 billion federal contract for Coast Guard and navy support ships could mean the end of ferries built in foreign shipyards, B.C. government officials say.

Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell said Thursday the upgrades to Seaspan facilities in North Vancouver and Victoria to construct seven new vessels will make the company more competitive, particularly for specialty ships like the icebreaker that is part of the contract.

Both Bell and Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom defended the decision by BC Ferries to contract with a German shipyard for three new large ferries delivered in 2007 and 2008.

Lekstrom said he supported the decision by BC Ferries to use competitive bidding, and suggested there would be a “taxpayer revolt” if the B.C. government put local construction ahead of cost. Bell agreed.

“The incremental cost of having built those other three ferries here would have been enormous, so I think it was the right decision at the time,” Bell said. “The good news is, with the advantages we’re gaining through this contract, that probably won’t happen again.”

Premier Christy Clark noted that smaller ferries have continued to be built in B.C., and the expansion of B.C. shipyard will increase their ability to compete on cost with European or Korean shipyards.

Bell said it’s unlikely that B.C. will go into the competitive market for freighters, but it has a chance to sell expertise in niche markets such as icebreakers abroad.

Just Posted

Cherries ripening for the picking in Salmon Arm

U-pick owner says it’s not all doom and gloom as it might be for some Okanagan growers

Public asked to help monitor CP Rail coal trains passing through Shuswap

Residents are asked to contact rail company if they see trains emitting coal dust

Highway 1 reopens following vehicle fire west of Chase

The Highway has reopend to single-lane alternating traffic, delays are expected due to congestion.

Letter: Better ways for Downtown Salmon Arm businesses to address poverty

Prohibiting sitting or lying down both measures designed to make poverty invisible and criminal

Salmon Arm actor, writer takes stab at thriller for silver screen

Now living in New York City, Dani Barker wrote and is starring in Follow Her.

VIDEO: Okanagan Valley weekday weather update

Environment Canada says it’s going to be a rainy week

Our history in picture: What’s under construction?

Is this the Royal Bank under construction? The decade is the 1970s.… Continue reading

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

UPDATE: special council meeting set for Wednesday, Basran in talks with province

Opponents of McCurdy house says she won’t ‘relinquish possession’ of more than 14,000 names

Private viewing for Elijah-lain Beauregard to be held in Penticton

Afterwards, there will be a celebration of life next to the Okanagan Lake,

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Mercury tops out on top of the world: Alert in Nunavut warmer than Victoria

It’s the latest anomaly in what’s been a long, hot summer across the Arctic

PHOTOS: Okanagan MetalFest event rocks

Big crowds gather for popular two-day annual heavy metal music festival in tiny Armstrong

Most Read