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NEWS RELEASE · 10th February 2011
BC First
Delaney: Add “excessive noise” while docked to series of problems with new German built ferries.

Further research into the new Super C- class Ferries built in Germany under the direction of BC Ferries CEO David Hahn reveal a number of design flaws, resulting in the ferries being 70% heavier and consuming over 30% more fuel than the original C-class ferries built in BC, says BC First spokesman Chris Delaney.
Delaney says BC Ferries’ own fuel consumption records show the Super C - class Coastal Renaissance averaged 8,416 litres of fuel per round trip, compared with an average of 6,491 litres by the older C-class Queen of Oak Bay.

“No wonder they have moored the Coastal Renaissance in Nanaimo in favour of using the Queen of Oak Bay. It is a great, big, heavy gas guzzling monster that would be better off as a luxury ocean liner than an efficient people moving transport vehicle,” said Delaney.

A technical paper authored by senior members of the German design team from Flensburger, Schiffbau, Gesellschaft that built the ferries, states, “Some of the design requirements put forward by BC Ferries had been very hard to fulfill in the final concept… These requirements lead to an unconventional propulsion concept… This propulsion concept is embedded into a completely new hull form that was developed on the basis of numerical flow simulations.”

“What they are saying is they were charting new ground with these ferries. Rather than improving the design of the extremely efficient C-class vessels built in the late 70’s in BC, they were basically starting from scratch. And they were taking direction from a Ferries CEO without any background, experience or knowledge in shipping. That combination is proving to be a disaster with these new Super C – class ferries,” said Delaney.

Delaney points out that a further complication from the unique design is that when the ships are docked and unloaded they create an inordinate amount of noise and vibration due to the propeller tips traveling at 76mph while only 8 inches below the water’s surface.

“It seems this feature is causing what the designers refer to as ‘cavitation’ or ‘air drawing’. The locals in Nanaimo began complaining almost immediately of the noise and in some cases vibrations that were reported to be causing structural damage to nearby homes as soon as the new ferry was put into operation. It is looking more and more like these ferries are as big of a white elephant as the Fast Ferries.”

Delaney says BC First has submitted an FOI request to obtain more data on all three of the new Super C- class ferries to determine their fuel consumption and operational activities.

“We’ll continue to report on this growing problem with the new ferries to see if any solutions can be developed. Mooring the ships and pretending there isn’t a problem is the first problem that needs to be addressed. From there, we can try to determine if retro-fitting variable speed motors and returning to an old style prop system is feasible, whether that would actually solve the problem, and what the cost/benefit will be of trying to fix this mess after the fact,” concluded Delaney.
But James,
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 15th February 2011
the ferries which are not up to fuel efficiency standards were built in Europe. No jobs for us there. All the rest is the usual. It is estimated that on an average construction about 40% of the cost is labour. Since about 50% of that goes back to the government in some form of taxation it is really dumb to build ships in a foreign country. Especially if they are fuel guzzlers.

BC Ferries has financial problems. Self inflicted but at least all under Hahn's and his bosses watch. It would be nice to exempt the current administration from anything bad but you would never be so forgiving if it were the NDP so forget the excuses from the past and deal with the errors of today.
Comment by James Ippel on 14th February 2011
Not modifiying the ferries has'nt stopped anyone from beating up on the NDP for a collosal blunder. Did the job creation and payment of taxes make up for this?? Methinks not.
Hahn and Campbell learned that it was very costly to build ferries in BC. You neglect to mention that there were a number of ferries built in a Victoria shipyard in the last few years, yes, a smaller version, but built in BC. You also fail to comment on the ability of Mr Hahn being able to go elsewhere for a far greater salary and bonus'.
Anyway Helmut, he will be gone in 2013 so you will have to fine someone else to critisize for a job well done.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 13th February 2011
The point was that since they were built in BC and if you factor in the benefits from creating jobs and paying taxes, Bc was probably further ahead. They were not modified because that would have removed any cause to beat on the NDP for years to come. The other point is that if the fast ferries were a mistake, how is it that Hahn and his boss Campbell learned absolutely nothing from it?
Comment by James Ippel on 12th February 2011
Yes, the Fastcats were built in BC, and if memory serves me, grossly over budget, and as it turns out, grossly inefficient. Give the Gov't for trying, but unfortunately they seem to have received some very poor advice.
If it was possible to have them modified for a lower cost than having them rebuilt--why was this not done??
The new ferries were built offshore, underbudget, and on time. The same cannot be said in the building of the Fastcats, and they were built in BC.
If I remember correctly, and correct my if I am wrong, the Fastcats were built at Cost + 10%. In my opinion this is an open ended invitation to Milk the Cow for all she is worth.
Mr Hahn is being blamed for all manner of ills related to BC Ferries, but he and his executives are not the problem. With Mr Hahns background and experience, he could easily earn 5x what he is currently being payed by BC Ferries. His, and his executive saleries, compromise such a small amount of the overall budged of the Ferry Corporation that it is not even worth mentioning.
For those who place all the blame on Mr Hahn, arn't you glad that his contract expires in 2013, and he has no plans to seek renewal. He will in all probablility be snapped up by some American Transit Authority for an annual salery mega times larger than he now receives.
Too bad there are those among us who can'nt accept something that works for the benefit of all because of their political bias.
Fixing the pretense
Comment by Barry English on 11th February 2011
"pretending there isn’t a problem is the first problem that needs to be addressed"

I remember watching Gordon Campbell almost foaming at the mouth over the "Fast Ferries", but now not a word about the Liberals Ferries mess. What is wrong with this picture? Fixing the ferries themselves is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the corporation goes. As it turns out, the highly overpriced CEO of BC Ferries seems to be the major problem.

Remove David Hahn, and possibly we can start to clean up some of the problems he has caused.
At least the Fast Ferries ...
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 10th February 2011
...were built in BC with BC labor.
Liberals blowing our tax dollars
Comment by Karen Dedosenco on 10th February 2011
When you look at the whole ferry situation here in B.C. it is easy to see just who cost British Columbians the most.

The NDP did allow the costs of the Fast Cats to go overboard (but then what government isn't guilty of such neglect?). The design wasn't great for these waters but it was possible to modify them at a much lower cost than having them rebuilt.

Enter the B.C. Liberals and the infamous Gordon Campbell.

Gordo was intent on smearing the reputation of his oppostion and he didn't care how much it cost the tax payer.

The Liberals sold the Fast Cats at auction for $25 million - $35 million less than the original offer made by the same company that won the bid (and the same company that helped build the ships).

To rub more dirt in the wounds the Libs have the replacements built off-shore, at a cost of $542 million, when we had a perfectly good ship building industry here in B.C. and at a time when jobs would have been extremely welcome.

The Liberal party was more intent on destroying the BC NDP than they were in managing our finances.