The PacifiCat ferries cost the B.C. government about $450 million to build in the late 1990s. ((CBC))

British Columbia's three fast ferries have been sold to Abu Dhabi Mar, a yacht-building company based in the United Arab Emirates, said its previous owners North Vancouver-based Washington Marine Group.

The details of the transaction are confidential, but Washington Marine Group said the PacifiCat catamaran vessels will be moved from Vancouver harbour by deep-sea vessel. The first ferry is to be transported next month.

The controversial ferries cost the B.C. NDP government about $450 million to build in the late 1990s, and were supposed to provide speedy service between Vancouver and Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island.

But the vessels were taken out of service after being plagued by mechanical problems and concerns about the large wake they caused.

They were dry-docked for years until the B.C. Liberal government sold to the Washington Marine Group for about $19 million.

With files from The Canadian Press