Search for ferry builders set to go international

Ashley
Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Transportation minister encourages Kiewit to join the fray

Transportation Minister Paul Davis has told The Telegram the provincial government is ready to move ahead with a request for proposals (RFP) for construction of the province’s next ferry boats.

“We’re within days of actually issuing the RFP and that’s our intention,” Davis said.

The international call has the potential to cut Marystown, and provincial shipbuilders, out of the provincial ferry fleet renewal program for the near future.

On Dec. 17, Davis told reporters the province would be issuing the RFP, looking for a third, 42-metre ferry, with enough capacity for about 16 vehicles and 80 passengers. It also wants to see a replacement built for the MV Capt. Earl W. Winsor, the current Fogo Island-Change Islands ferry.

Davis said the Kiewit shipyard in Marystown is the only yard in the province capable of taking on the construction, but the provincial government would go outside for the build if the price was right.

The last two provincial ferries to be built — the MV Grace Sparkes and the MV Hazel McIsaac — were built at the Kiewit facility, at a cost of $27.5 million each. An argument arising over additional costs, between the government and the company, left plans for further ferries stuck in limbo.

In the spring of 2012, the issue was set aside as government entered into fresh discussions with Kiewit, to negotiate a deal for the province’s next ferry.

The announcement of the soon-to-be-issued RFP is meant to break the impasse in those negotiations — seeing construction on the ships begin either here or, if necessary, elsewhere.

Despite talk circulating recently between workers and politicians on the Burin Peninsula — suggesting Kiewit has gone to the province with a new, cheaper price on the next ferry since the RFP announcement — the Transportation minister said there has been no such movement on the file.

“We’ve got nothing new on the table, no, since last fall,” Davis said in response to questions late Wednesday afternoon.

“But now ... if Peter Kiewit makes a decision to enter into that competitive process, I mean I welcome it and would encourage them to give good consideration to it.”

As reported earlier this week, Kiewit’s Cow Head facility in Marystown will be home to the building of a massive, Hebron module build. However, according to a union rep for workers in the area, Marystown would still be able to handle construction of the next provincial ferries at the nearby shipyard.

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

Organizations: The Telegram

Geographic location: Kiewit, Marystown, Cow Head

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Recent comments

  • LES
    January 31, 2013 - 15:17

    IF THERE IS NO NEW PURPOSAL ON THE TABLE SOMEONE IS TELLING LIES, PRESIDENT WAYNE BRAKE OF LOCAL 20 INDICATED IN DEC. THAT KIEWIT ( GYNN SMITH ) TOLD HIM THAT THERE WAS A NEW BID PUT FORWARD. TIME FOR THIS BULL TO STOP.

  • cass
    January 31, 2013 - 12:28

    WE THE TAX PAYERS OF THIS PROVINCE ARE PAYING THE BILL, THEN THE FERRIES ARE TO BE BUILT IN NL. PUT ASIDE THE DIFFERENCES, TELL US ABOUT THE COST OVERRUNS & THE DESIGN CHANGES. WE ELECTED THE GOVERNMENT TO DO THAT. WE ARE TIRED OF SEEING THINGS MADE IN CHINA AND OUR FISH BEING PROCESSED IN OTHER COUNTRIES. BY THE WAY WHO IS CATCHING OUT YELLOWTAIL FLOUNDER?

    • a business man
      February 01, 2013 - 08:28

      As a taxpayer, citizen and voter, I am perfectly okay with the ferries being built outside of Newfoundland. I don't need to know about the cost overruns because I trust the government that I voted for. Furthermore, this type of job - building of a ferry - is not the type of job that I want for my family, so I am happy to see the job being done elsewhere. I feel this way about ANY job that is NOT done from a desk. I am perfectly happy with buying things from China. In fact, I prefer foreign made goods because we as customers get the goods at a cheaper cost. Having things made in Canada would cost me more money, and I would rather not pay. And I want the foreigners to catch all of the fish, because this would prevent the fishery workers from qualifying from EI. If they can't qualify, then they can't abuse the system. Seems like a win-win to me. Again, just my opinion as a taxpayer and voter

  • Noibns
    January 31, 2013 - 09:47

    Should start with a Gulf {NL. to NS.} ferry that can sail when the flag blows straight and get rid of the Scandanavian cruise ships.

  • in the dark
    January 31, 2013 - 09:33

    the people in the province need to know the truth about the final cost of the two ferries built in marystown and why the cost overrun. one side blaming the other just doesn't cut it anymore. if there are design changes after the bidding was done then naturally there will be extra costs, stands to reason.