March 10, 2009
GRAND MANAN (CNB) - The provincial government is buying a new, 82-car ferry to link Grand Manan with the mainland. Premier Shawn Graham made the announcement today.
"This new vessel, to arrive in 2011, will replace the MV Grand Manan, which has a 25 auto-equivalent unit capacity and is 44 years old," said Graham. "As promised in the Charter for Change, we are following through on our commitment to strengthen the Fundy islands ferry service."
Graham signed the $65-million-US agreement with officials from Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc. Transportation Minister Denis Landry, Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet, and Grand Manan Mayor Dennis Greene also took part in the ceremony, held at Grand Manan Community School.
"Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc. is designing and supplying a vessel capable of meeting present and long-term ferry service requirements to Grand Manan," said Landry.
At the moment, the MV Grand Manan runs from late June to early September between Blacks Harbour and Grand Manan. The vessel has a capacity for 25 cars and 100 passengers. A second ferrry, the MS Grand Manan V runs year-round. It can carry up to 65 cars and 300 passengers.
Starting in 2011, the new ferry will run year-round, while the MS Grand Manan V will replace the MV Grand Manan as the summer ferry. As a result, the daily vehicle capacity in the summer will increase to 1,000 from 630; the daily vehicle capacity in the winter will increase to 640 from 480.
"This investment by the government will deliver huge dividends for the Fundy islands," said Doucet. "This opens up the largest growth potential for tourism traffic in the island's history."
Four shipyards submitted a total of five proposals after the Department of Transportation issued a request for expressions of interest. All proposals were subject to a subsequent screening process. Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc., based in Florida, submitted the successful one.
"We are pleased to have the opportunity to supply this vessel to the people of New Brunswick," said Brian D'Isernia, president of Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc. "We have a reputation for quality workmanship and exceeding industry standards. I am confident Grand Manan ferry users will have a safe and efficient vessel to enjoy for decades."
A contest to determine the name of the vessel will be held. All entries are to submitted to the Grand Manan village office by Thursday, April 30. A panel will review the submissions and make recommendations to Landry. The selected name must be approved by Landry and the federal registrar of shipping.
The department owns five vessels that operate in coastal waters. Aside from the MS Grand Manan V and the MV Grand Manan, the MV Lady White Head ferry operates between Grand Manan and White Head Island, while the Deer Island Princess II and the John E. Rigby ferries operate between Letete and Deer Island.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Holland, communications, Department of Transportation 506-453-5634.