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NEWS RELEASE · 19th October 2011
VICTORIA - New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix congratulated Seaspan on its solid work to win today’s $8 billion federal contract to build seven non-combat vessels in B.C.

“The west coast shipbuilding industry has a long and proud history. New Democrats have always known that the industry has the capacity if given the right support. The contract today is the kind of support that has been needed,” said Dix.

Dix said that New Democrats have backed the west coast's shipbuilding bid since 2010. The caucus has repeatedly approached the federal government about how B.C., as a centre of excellence in ship building, should have a role in refurbishing Canada's Coast Guard and naval fleet.

Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth, whose family has worked in the B.C. ship building industry for generations, said that the opportunities for jobs and training are significant.

“With this contract, B.C. can clearly demonstrate that we do not need to send jobs and training offshore. We need to make sure that this contract creates jobs and opportunities for British Columbians, especially young people who are looking for some hope,” said Farnworth.

Dix and Farnworth acknowledged the work of B.C. Shipyard General Workers' Federation president George MacPherson and his members who have been tireless advocates on behalf of the west coast ship building industry.
When you don't give a damn James.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 30th October 2011
Yes, we are all tired of Fast Ferries. But for some who keep throwing the topic about when ever they want to make a debating point there should be some recognition of the truth however inconvenient it might be. Here are some details which some won't give a damn about; others might.

Each one of the four MTU Fredrischaffen main engines powering the Fastcats were worth over 5 million in USD. They had such low running hours they could easily have been sold. Just the engines were worth more than what the Liberals got for the entire vessels. They threw in the huge aluminum hulls, the most expensive hull to build, for free.

The Pacificat wheelhouse looked like a spaceship inside. The electronics in that ship in dollar value would make you even angrier when you learn they were sold for 19 million, for all 3 boats.

A chief engineer who worked on those boats said they had their problems, yes, but it's not hard to see it was a ploy to show the public how "unusable" Glen Clarks ferries are, after all they are only worth $19 million.

The real story is that the bow and hull form were modified without consent from the Naval Architect in order to fit existing ferry docks. As you can imagine this changed every parameter of how the ship handled, the amount of fuel it burned, and the size of its wake. This could have been solved by slowing it down. It would have saved fuels and one could have removed two of the engines creating more load space.

Some time ago I did an FOI request to find out if any options for the Fast Ferries had ever been considered before selling them as scrap. Apparently there were. There were two options.

The first option was to make no structural changes but simply run the vessels at half speed. Fuel consumption would be reduced by 60 percent or a cost reduction of $1000 an hour and the reduction in maintenance could be reduced by approximately 25 percent. Cost of implementing this option was about $300,000 to $1 million per vessel.

A second option was to remove two engines and two gear boxes which at the slow speed would not be required. This would require some structural modification due to the change in buoyancy of the stern or trim of the vessel but once that was corrected an additional 35 % carrying capacity could be added. Cost of this option would be about $3 million per vessel.

The KMM report addressed such deficiencies as the ferries inability to carry semi-trailer trucks, their low deadweight carrying capacity, the heavy wake wash effect and the “mechanical unreliability“. More extensive structural modification were recommended. . It recommended a budget of $15 million per vessel be set aside for this purpose. A third, the CFI report, recommended minor modifications such as suggested in the JJMA report followed by a trial and it left open the option of going back to the 35 knot capability. Cost estimates for this ranged from a low of $1.2 million to the high cost option of $11 million per vessel..

If they could have sold six engines under the modifications (barely used) worth 5 million each. Most of the cost of even the expensive option could have been recovered. For $450 million plus $33 million modification (let’s assume we still wanted them to do 40 Knots) we could have had three ferries. Compare that to the $542 million each paid for the new ones that don’t operate unless they are desperately needed due to traffic volume because they are gas guzzlers and ride too high in the water. About $483 million built locally compared to $1.726 billion built in Europe for three new ferries.

Those Pacificats were eventually sold to Abu Dhabi Mar, a yacht-building company
and shipped to the United Arab Emirates. The BC Media which acts like a bunch of pit bulls whenever the NDP needs scrutiny act like pussy cats whenever the BC Liberals need the same. None of them have ever asked or done the most basic investigation as to what the United Arab Emirates paid for them.

Sure Glen Clark got bad advice by then BC Ferries management. He tried to set up a cutting edge industry and re-build Vancouver's name in the shipbuilding world. He was pilloried for it and as a result the BC shipbuilding industry had to wait till 2011 for the feds to throw it a life line. Nobody has ever held the BC Liberals to account for selling them for less than scrap value just to play cheap partisan politics with the taxpayer’s money. Like others they claim “it is all in the past and they are damn tired of it.” How convenient to be tired of the truth.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 29th October 2011
Truth be known neither are the Fast Ferries lying and rusting away. Not to mention they were aluminum. The new ones are "parked" much of the year. You would have thought that somebody would learn from their experience. but no.
Comment by James Ippel on 28th October 2011
Yes, someone got the royal shaft, and quite frankly, at this point in time I don't give a damn anymore.

PS The new ferries are'nt lying somewhere turning to rust. (Yet)
Actually James...
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 27th October 2011
...I was just drawing attention to the inconsistency of where on the next article you imply that we were "living in the past" comparing that to where on this article in your previous you seem to be doing exactly that.

It really doesn't matter except that You again prove that BC Shipyards could have built the last group of new ferries all the government had to do was not interfere (assuming that is the cause), but the government decided to provide employment overseas instead.

Now I could ask, What exactly was that interference? It is news to me. But it doesn't matter, you made my point and that is the BC got screwed over by the BC Liberals and David Hahn when they had the new ferries built in Europe. Funny thing is they don't even work properly. I guess we will get the rest of the bill when they reconfigure them.
Comment by James Ippel on 27th October 2011
I have been enlightened by an aquaintance who had a relative working at Seaspan during the construction of the Fast Ferries.
I will only relate what came from his relative, and you may make your own judgement. He cited contstant Gov't interferance as the underlying reason for the huge cost overruns. Basically the request for constant costly changes throughout the construction.
I am not blaming anyone anymore. Mistakes were made.
@ James
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 26th October 2011
Isn't that comment just you just living in the past? Following your reasoning to hold the workers at Seaspan accountable for the Fast Ferries makes me wonder why Ford Motor Co. never fired all their workers after the Edsel bombed. I guess they knew somethings are not the workers fault even if the BC Liberals can't understand that. I hope you are not going to suggest that the workers in the Shipyards needed to be punished because the NDP provided them work through Fast Ferries. That would be living in the past.

Comment by James Ippel on 23rd October 2011
If you are going to critisize people, at least spell their names right.
After the fast ferry fiasco, I would be leary to have Seaspan bid as well-cost overruns, and late delivery.
Now, would the workers be responsible for this, with a contract of Cost +10%? You answer me.
Uh oh......Les Watmough has his political sails set.
Comment by Janice P. Robinson on 20th October 2011
"Age and treachery beats youth and speed....."
Prove it.
On Seaspan's website:
Comment by Karen on 20th October 2011
"Premier Christy Clark is committed to bringing NSPS jobs to British Columbia and grasping this once in a lifetime opportunity to create multiple generations of skilled workers for this Province."

It was Christy's party that handed a large ferry project to Germany rather than the shipping industry in B.C. It was the NDP who had faith in our local industry and tried to revitalize it in the 90's (which the Liberal's destroyed over political posturing).

Considering the awarding of the contracts, according to Harper, was completely non-partisan I'd like to know what Christy had to do with it. Although I will give her credit if she comes through with the promised investment in trades training - it would be the first actual move that she could legitimitely take credit for on job creation.
Comment by les watmough on 20th October 2011
I am Amazed to see Cristy Clark in her new role as shipbuilder of the year. This is the woman who worked diegently to KILL the industry in BC. Fast Ferries lies and inuendo,. Then there was Haun and the thre convemtional ferries that seaspan etc were not even INVITED to bid on because" BC ship builders dont know nothin".
As the world turns. les
Watch the labour costs...
Comment by bill braam on 19th October 2011
Seaspan must watch the labour costs on this project in order to attract even more business. Overtime costs can seriously dampen the spirits of any new customers. Workers at any large project know quite well the advantages of 'intended' overtime. While all the pro-union buffs out there may not concur with my perspectives they know full well how lucrative overtime can the detriment of the business side to attract new business. Thank you.