The ferry expected to bring a direct route between northern Vancouver Island and the central B.C. coast is coming a year late and $20 million over budget.
The ferry will also cost $76 million by the time it gets into the water, instead of the $55.7 million initially budgeted.
It will take over the route from the Nimpkish, a 46-year-old ferry that can hold 12 cars and 95 people. It will begin its planned seasonal direct route from Port Hardy to Bella Coola on June 3.
The 77-metre Northern Sea Wolf was built in Greece in 2000, then bought by BC Ferries for $12.6 million in 2017. At the time, it was thought to cost $55.7 million to both buy and retrofit the vessel.
However, Marshall said “major upgrade work to bring the vessel up to BC Ferries and Transport Canada’s standards took longer than originally anticipated,” and boosted up the cost to a total of $63.4 million for retrofit work.
The Northern Sea Wolf begins service on the central coast on May 18 following major upgrades, sea trials & dock fits.
The vessel has been completely modernized & features the Indigenous Art of Richard Hunt & Danika Naccarella.
Learn more: https://t.co/UkivracDhr ^mj pic.twitter.com/vS6IsrNMoa
— BC Ferries (@BCFerries) May 14, 2019
Add in the initial $12.6 million cost to buy the ferry, and it will now cost $76 million by the time the Northern Sea Wolf begins running.
The vessel will carry up to 35 vehicles and 150 passengers and has spent May conducting dock trials in the communities it will serve.
The increased costs are attributed to a new galley, bridge, electrical generators, HVAC system, washrooms, elevator, chair lifts, new cafeteria and passenger accommodation area.
“In many aspects, the vessel is totally new,” Marshall said.
The federal government has contributed $15.1 million, leaving the corporation with a $60.9-million bill.