Monday, August 02, 2010


On this BC Day weekend, something else to think about ...

Comment on the new BC Ferries ship, "Coastal Inspiration",  is copied from Laila Yuile's blog:

Hi Laila,

Glad to hear you all had such a good trip. I too love Vancouver Island.

Were you able to go to the top deck on the c-class fiascos. It is my understanding that the top deck is not assessable because Campbell was so over-budget that he had to chinz on the aluminum making the ferries too light and top heavy which would cause them to tip over. Needless to say he was still waaay over budget.

They have so many problems I have heard that Campbell is secretly trying to sell at least one of them off (or give away) as he did with the beautiful fast ferries, complete with the best aluminum money could buy.

The propellers are too large and sit too far out of the water causing them to erode the surrounding coast and the dock we spent $11 million to prep for them and probably many more $$ since then.

They are gas guzzlers and are in drydock 4 out of 7 days a week so the huge ungreen cost of fuel looks good.

The parts are made in Russia, (ferries built in Germany, non union), and take two years to get here and are veeerrry expensive. Way more problems with them which you can check out for yourself if you can find anything on them but it appears Campbell has been able to keep even this a secret…………..Recall in the fall!

The fast ferries were excellent, they only needed a little tweaking.

The good old wooden ferries made in B.C. union shipyards still do most of the work. I have this from a good source who has B.C. Ferries as one of his accounts. I’m sure the staff is told what to say to inquisitive people…like you and me.


Please add your comments. I'd like to know more about those propellers: seems to me they'd shake the daylights out of the ship (and passengers) if they aren't properly submerged.

I'd like to hear other views on this, including (please and thank you), who the heck owns BC Ferries these days?  - BC Mary. 


Hi Mary,

From what I understand, the vessels were not heavy enough initially and sat high in the water. To counter this I have heard that either concrete or metal has been installed in the double bottom tanks as ballast, to make the vessels sit lower in the water.

The vessels were designed to suit certain service criteria and it appears as if the defining requirements were either misleading or not met. Either way, the blame lies with BC Ferry Corporation period. They should have had a resident Naval Architect overseeing the design and construction of these vessel from day one. It appears that whoever they used, was negligent to some degree, in his work and responsibility.

If the propellers do indeed break the surface (which I doubt but could be close), then their efficiency takes a nose dive and as a consequence, the fuel burnt is partly wasted - maybe as much as 35% ( a guess on my part). And no, the ship would not shake unduly if at all, due to propellers breaking the surface in normal operating shaft speeds. A bent proller blade would do that as could insufficient or incorrect ballast conditions.

It could be that the design draft for these ships is too much for the water depth that they are operating in, and, if that is the case, they will be deliberately riding high to avoid damaging the hulls. I doubt that is the case, but you never knoow - especially with the incompetent and dishonest, lying, BC Liberal government under the pathetic leadership of Gordon Campbell.

I am sure that here is much more to the story of these new ferries and of course, BC Ferry Corp. will not say a word. Possibly Department of Transport officials can offer some information to clarify the situation. Maybe the Naval Architecture department of Pacific Marine Institute in North Van. could help as well.

When a ship is built overseas, there is the added disadvantage of having to get parts froom overseas as well. Whether it be Russia, Germany, France or UK - all are susceptable to unforeseen delays.

It would have been much more referable to have had the ships built in Canada or even BC. However, Gordon Campbell was premier, so any benifits that might have been generated - like money staying in province, work for local tradesmen and engineers etc., local industrial supply companies and steel suppliers a nd the likes - just did not happen. In fact for all the money spent, very little if any, benifitted the BC economy. Campbell just does not give a damn about what is in the best interests for British Columbians as the last decade has shown.

I don't know if this explains anything for you Mary, but in the absence of any physical data, we are just guessing at what and why.


Weight wouldn't have been added to the double bottom tanks, that space is needed in case of a collision which would rupture the outer skin. Besides the double bottom is no more than three feet high on the centre line and diminishing towards the outboard sides to nothing. If anything, weight would have been added to the void spaces fore and aft of the engine room.

As to the reference of the benefits of building locally, rather than overseas in Germany, the engines for most vessels, including the Fast Cats, are built overseas.

With the preparations going full steam ahead for the 2010 Winter Olympics, the required manpower to build anything on the west coast was non-existent as far new ships were concerned.

The recent announcement that the Harper government is in the process of handing out major contracts for large and small vessels, complicated and less, is good news for the west coast IF the Washington Group can land the latter, the supply vessels, which according to news reports is to be a 30 year contract. However BC doesn't have a large voting population like that of Ontario and Quebec, and like before, the more lucrative, long term contracts will be handed out to the east coast over anywhere else.
Hi Mary, I went googling just now and found this site I'm going back to read, will check in later.
According to Wikipedia, BC Ferries is a de facto crown corp, with the provincial crown as the sole shareholder. It is organized as a privately-held company.

Transportation Minister Shirley Bond said that BC Ferries was transformed into a private company in April 2003, through the Coastal Ferry Act.

She said that BC Ferries is owned by the BC Ferry Authority. BCFA is a separate legal entity, and is the sole voting shareholder in BC Ferry Services.

The BC Ferries website says the province of BC holds 75,477 preferred, non-voting shares.

So BC Ferries seems to be a separate, private company, which is owned by the province of BC. But if it's owned by the province, how can it be called a private company.

Yikes! a separate, private company which could be sold just like {snap!} that.

Thanks for your findings, which certainly gives us more to think about, on this BC Day celebration.
Hi Mary,
I posted a reply to your message at Laila's blog but doesn't seem that it went through??? Anyway, it's fine for you to use the BCF info. Also as I said over there this has been discussed by me at Grant G's blog and also HO's quite some time ago but you could go through Grant's archives or even ask him.
Notice that I say Anyway!!!
Hope you are doing well.
I believe that we still subsidize the ferries, just like we subsidize "private" schools. Campbell makes the taxpayers the fall guys in every corporate deal he does, as in P 3's.
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