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Polish shipyard to build 3 B.C. ferries

VICTORIA - BC Ferries says a Polish shipyard has won the contract to build three new intermediate-class ferries capable of operating with liquefied natural gas or diesel.

It says Remontowa Shipbuilding of Poland will receive $165 million to build the ships, with a contract that includes completion, performance and delivery guarantees.

BC Ferries says the total budget for the project is $252 million, which includes financing and project management costs, and covers $51 million for Canadian taxes and federal import duties.

The vessels will replace the 49-year old Queen of Burnaby, which sails between Comox and Powell River, and the 50-year old Queen of Nanaimo, which serves the Tsawwassen and Southern Gulf Islands route, while the third will also serve the Gulf Islands on a seasonal and relief basis.

BC Ferries says the new 105-metre vessels will accommodate 145 vehicles and 600 passengers.

The former Crown agency says Seaspan, which has a shipyard in Vancouver, was the only Canadian company among the five firms shortlisted and invited to participate in the bidding process but that it withdrew, citing prior commitments.

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