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Home: Canadian Construction News: Ottawa Buys Digby-Saint John Blue Star Ferry

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Ottawa Buys Digby-Saint John Blue Star Ferry

Written by; Chad Simco / TCCN Staff Writer
Added on: Fri Oct 31 2014

  


The Canadian federal government announced its purchase of the "Blue Star Ferry Ithaki" from a private operation in Greece. The Blue Star Ferry will replace the current Princess of Acadia which services routes on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia to Saint John, New Brunswick.

The final dealings took place on October 10th. The purchase price of the Itaki is approx. $44.6 million (CAD)

The purchase was preceded by a detailed evaluation process involving assessing and identifying suitable candidate vessels from a variety of countries around the world. A decision was made to purchase the Blue Star Ithaki after considering it to be the best overall value for Canadians and having full capability to meet operational requirements of the Digby-Saint John ferry service. The ferry is expected to be in service by next year, 2015.

Once the Blue Star Ferry arrives in Canada, modifications will begin for the ferry to meet stringent Canadian safety regulations and to be up to capability with the present operation and shore infrastructure in the Bay of Fundy.

The Blue Star Ithaki is a "roll on - roll off" type of passenger vessel that was originally built in 2000 by Daewoo Industries. Transport Canada has reported that the ferry is in top notch condition and can withstand at least 20 more years of useful service. A "roll on - roll off" ferry is designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as trucks, cars, and trailers, that are driven on and off the ferry its passengers.

The Ithaki has a top cruising speed of 20knots and is 19 metres in breadth by 124 metres in length. It also contains modernized on board amenities and segregated vehicle decks.

Bay Ferries Ltd. operates the ferry service for the Digby-Saint John route, and has used the Princess of Acadia ferry, owned by Transport Canada, since 2006. The federal government in Ottawa has funded about $38 million (CAD) to support this service.

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt stated that the federal government has an understanding of the importance of the ferry service and the purchase of the Blue Star Itaki will help both the economy and local community with its tourism and trade.

The purchase of the Greek Blue Star Ithaki Ferry has been a bit of an open secret to locals in the community. In an open council held on this past September 22nd, warden of the Municipality of Digby, Linda Gregory stated she saw photographs of the ferry chosen to replace the current Princess of Acadia, and added, "It looks nice!".

Chair of the Bay of Fundy Marine Transportation Association, Norm Lockyer, also made comments during the association's annual meeting held this past September 24th, adding, "if you ask the right people they will even show you pictures".

  

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