The provincial government made official this afternoon news that a new ferry is on its way for Bell Island.
Jan van Hogerwou, Damen's manager for North American operations, Conception Bay East MHA David Brazil and Transportation and Works Minister Nick McGrath at a news conference today officially announcing a new ferry for Bell Island. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram
Transportation and Works Minister Nick McGrath said he expects Damen Shipyards of Norway will have the 80-metre ferry ready to make trips between the island and Portugal Cove-St. Philip's by February 2016.
The ship's specifications are identical to that of a new ferry announced for Fogo Island and Change Islands last month that Damen Shipyards is also building. The vessel, valued at $49.5 million, will be able to carry 200 passengers and 60 vehicles.
Conception Bay East MHA David Brazil said a more capable ferry service will open up economic opportunities for Bell Island. The new ferry will have expanded capacity in comparison to the vessel it will replace, the MV Beaumont Hamel. The MV Flanders will continue to serve the island alongside the new ferry.
Jan van Hogerwou, Damen's manager for North American operations, told reporters his company expects to have a noticeable presence in Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly with respect to oil and gas business in St. John's. He also expressed the company’s interest in working with local businesses from the marine and ocean technology sectors.
The province previously announced plans to spend $10 million on wharf upgrades necessary to accommodate a new vessel.