Post by Retired Engineer on Nov 25, 2006 2:08:59 GMT -8
I realize BC Ferries was in need of a replacement for the Queen of The North, asap, but damn, what an ugly ship! I truly hope her heart and brain offer a lot more than what appears on the surface. I thought "round" cabin windows went out with the Titanic. So to see them on a ship so recent, especially in Senior Officers territory is kinda scary! Only time will tell how well she serves the needs of the Northern run. I served on both the QPR and QTN (as well as pretty well every other ship in the fleet as a "Manning Pool Engineer" in those days) and they offered challenges of their own, especially the North with everything labeled in the country of origin. I truly hope that the 1st. item of business will be to re-label everything in English so all are on the same page, LOL! Cheers! Happy, but missing my former co-workers in retirement!
After seeing that I looked at the new Northern Vessels cost and it was $133 million. So the new boat is $30 million more expensive than the Sonia. Value? You also have to figure in the insurance settlement from the Queen of the North which was 61 million. So BC Ferries basicly got a replacement for the Queen of the North for $42 million.
I believe Hergfest, and Hornbyguy, have missed the ferry so to speak. BCF purchases a ferry for $51 million, and now the actual cost has more than doubled. WHAT GOES ON HERE??? I'm a provincial tax payer and I want to see exactly where the extra $52 million was spent. It's inconceivable that a paint job and oil change in Greece, crew positioning, a repositioning cruise, and mods in Victoria, doubles the cost. Who's lining their pockets on this one?
THE EXECUTIVE TEAM AT BC FERRIES HAVE A LOT OF EXPLAINING TO DO ON THIS ONE!
If you know anything about purchases the government makes, while 100% is quite high it's certainly not out of the ordinary. Think about buying a $20,000 car; how much does it costs by the time it's in your driveway. Now imagine that was an American car you had to drive from Florida because you had no other option and the dealerships you were talking to knew this.
We're also talking like the Sonia is an artifact; it's about 2 years old now.
BCFS will have to pay duties on the German new build ships as well. The new northern vessel will come in a well over $CAD 150 million when all is said and done. Same goes for super C's. The duties are there to encourage Canadian shipping companies to build their vessels in Canada.
BTW, saying that the Sonia is a two year old vessel is rather misleading. Construction on it started in 1999 and was finished in 2004. It languished in a Greek ship yard for some time.
Just a thought here, but I wonder if the construction took so long because of the Athens Olympics? I know in Vancouver here we have a labour shortage and construction supplies are more costly and harder to get, and we're just getting the Winter Olympics and all that goes along with it. Athens had the summer games which are much bigger. The Sonia was launched a month before the games in a suburb of Athens.
As for engine trouble, I never found any complaints of engine trouble except for her first few months of action. I assume the problem was fixed.
I also agree that the ferry is expensive and there are a few costs there that I'd like explained, but like someone already said, she's still new. Save 25% for a 2 year old ship, sounds like a good deal to me, as long as she meets BC Ferries needs for years to come.
The net revenue that BC Ferries lost since the 'North sank would be a teeny teeny portion of the insurance payout they got. Remember, they only had to pay operating costs for one vessel instead of two. Are not the northern routes net losers? If they lost 44% of their revenues up north, they more than made up for it in labour and operating savings, I'll bet. The bulk of the insurance settlement was for the cost of a replacement ship.
I didn't see anything more on the SEDAR site about the Sonia bill, except that the $103 million figure includes the cost of the entire search and purchase project, from the beginning, presumably since just after the sinking. So you have that cost, plus the work in Greece, the trip over, taxes and duties, and the project here- on top of the actual purchase price.
They made an initial $5 million down payment- perhaps part of the amount we're wondering about is financing costs? It is perplexing, but since we don't have all the information yet, I don't see much point in assuming scandal.
Cascade- In the fiscal year ended March '06, total revenues from the Northern routes were $16 million. Total expenses were $34 million. Insurance pay out was $60 million plus. Since BC Ferries was expected to be without the services of the 'North, or it's replacement, for approximately a year, but were still gaining some revenue from the 'Rupert's operations, you can see that the vast portion of the insurance settlement was to cover replacement cost, and not loss of revenue.
You are right, though, to raise the question of the very high cost of the replacement project. There is probably a very good explanation, but so far we haven't heard it.
Here is an article from the Times Colonist today - lot's of interesting stuff that should fuel the debate on costs ....
The new pride of B.C. Ferries $100-million acquisition that will replace the sunken Queen of the North is a ship 'people are going to love' Published: Sunday, December 03, 2006 One of the most closely guarded secrets at B.C. Ferries is the short-list of names for the new ship, sailing halfway round the world to its home in Victoria.
Freshly decked out in B.C. Ferries colours, with systems newly serviced and scrutinized, the vessel, now known as the MV Sonia, has travelled from Piraeus, Greece, to the Canary Islands and is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, heading for the Panama Canal.
The Sonia is due to arrive in Victoria between Dec. 18 and 20, depending on weather. Days before it arrives, the big name announcement will be made.
"It has been an internal process," said communications vice-president Mark Stefanson, steadfastly refusing to give hints.
"We are phasing out the Queen [names] and we are looking at a theme for the three [new] northern vessels," he said.
The final decision will be made by B.C. Ferries board of directors.
The Sonia will replace the Queen of the North, which sank in March after hitting a rock near Gil Island. There have been suggestions the name should honour the two passengers who are missing and presumed drowned, or Hartley Bay, the village where rescuers jumped into small boats in the middle of the night to help ferry passengers.
However, more likely themes are wildlife or aboriginal names.
Capt. Trafford Taylor, master mariner and B.C. Ferries executive vice-president in charge of new vessel construction, is waiting impatiently to show off B.C. Ferries' $100-million investment to British Columbians.
"People are going to love this ship for a whole bunch of reasons," said Taylor, who sailed from Piraeus to the Canary Islands on the Sonia.
Taylor also sailed the vessel from Barcelona -- where it was on contract for the run between Barcelona and the island of Ibiza -- to Piraeus.
"I am delighted with this ship. Honest to goodness, I didn't think we would be able to get a ship this modern [for the budget]," he said.
The Sonia will go into a $9-million refit at Victoria Shipyards before going into service on the northern routes in April. It was built in 2004, holds 600 passengers, 101 vehicles and has 70 cabins.
The Queen of the North was built in 1969, carried 650 passengers and 115 vehicles and had 115 cabins.
The Sonia has three decks, allowing people to admire the scenery around the Queen Charlotte Islands, Prince Rupert and Port Hardy and the public areas are open and bright, Taylor said.
The cabins are comfortable and there are four large VIP cabins, which are perfect for honeymooners, he said.
The ship is exceptionally stable, making it ideal for service in Hecate Strait "and the bridge is a delight in terms of visibility," he said.
"I don't know how anyone can criticize this ship, I really don't," Taylor said.
"But, I suppose there are always going to be critics of B.C. Ferries," he said.
In 2005, the Sonia was on the Trinidad-Tobago run, where it was the target of criticism.
The newspaper, Trinidad and Tobago's Newsday, documented safety deficiencies and breakdowns and reported that, while on an Italian run, the Sonia's engine exploded. Also, the keel was laid in 2001 and then left on bedding in the shipyard for a lengthy period, it said.
Taylor said any problems have been addressed and Transport Canada inspectors have already scrutinized the vessel from stem to stern.
Leaving the keel in a Greek shipyard until work resumed was not a problem because of the good weather in Greece, he said.
Shortly after the ship was built, "there was a catastrophic main engine failure," Taylor said.
However, it was caused by a defective engine, which was immediately replaced by the manufacturer, he said.
Kevin Stapleton, B.C. Ferries engineer, said maintenance on the ship has been spotty during the time it has been contracted out, but the shipyard in Piraeus has given her the TLC it needed.
The 26 B.C. Ferries crew members who are sailing the Sonia to its new home have had extensive training on the new equipment, including an exam and mandatory sign-off by the crew member and supervisor.
"We are raising the bar in terms of training," Taylor said. The crew are working hard during the lengthy trip back to Victoria, but it is a great opportunity, he said.
"We're getting T-shirts made saying 'See The World. Join B.C. Ferries.'"