Esquimalt Drydock has been awarded contracts worth millions of dollars to do upgrades on the Northern Sea Wolf, which will ply the route between Port Hardy and Bella Colola for BC Ferries. Illustration courtesy BC Ferries

Esquimalt Drydock awarded millions in contracts for North Island ferry upgrade

BC Ferries vessel Northern Sea Wolf arrives this week from Athens, Greece

Ahead of its installation on the Port Hardy to Bella Coola run this summer, BC Ferries’ new vessel the Northern Sea Wolf will make its way to Esquimalt Drydock for upgrading work.

The local company was awarded contracts worth millions of dollars to do upgrades on the ferry, which is arriving this week from Athens, Greece.

The first contract worth $2 million is for drydocking and work on underwater components, while a second set of contracts worth $18 million for interior and safety upgrades will be awarded to Esquimalt Drydock and other local contractors and suppliers.

“This project will take approximately four months to complete with a peak work force of 100 personnel of all trades,” said company general manager Joe Sansalone in a release. “We look forward to working with BC Ferries again and to the successful completion of this project.”

The work will see interior and exterior painting done, the propulsion engines and gearboxes overhauled, new electrical generators and new navigational equipment installed, as well as upgrades to the switchboards and shipboard safety equipment and systems.

A full galley and dedicated dining area will be added, the seating lounge reconfigured and prime outdoor viewing areas refurbished on the upper outer decks. The Northern Sea Wolf was built in 2000 and can accommodate 35 or more vehicles and up to 150 passengers and crew.

“This major upgrade will provide significant enhancements to the customer amenities and the vessel will undoubtedly be a very welcome addition to our fleet as it travels from northern Vancouver Island to the mid-coast starting next summer,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries vice-president for strategy and community engagement.

The ship will sail five days a week in peak season and also provide year-round service to Bella Bella, Shearwater and Ocean Falls.

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