Buy a BC Ferries vessel for less than a Vancouver condo

The Queen of Burnaby is up for auction after 52 years in service for BC Ferries. The vessel will be replaced by a newer liquid natural gas-powered craft.

52-year-old Queen of Burnaby up for auction, bidding opens at $400K

The Queen of Burnaby has been in service since 1965 and will make its last run between Comox on Vancouver Island and Powell River on the Sunshine Coast at the end of March 2017. (govdeals.com)

A 52-year-old BC Ferries vessel — The Queen of Burnaby — is up for auction and will be replaced by a newer craft that runs on liquid natural gas.

The vessel services the Comox-Powell River route and will make its last run at the end of March.

The 904-person capacity ship has several lounges and cafeterias as well as a gift shop and kids zone. 

The listing for the Queen of Burnaby on govdeals.com says that all equipment for the vessel, "is maintained to acceptable industry standards on an ongoing basis."

Bidding opens at $400,000.

It will be replaced by the Salish Orca, which was built in Poland and will be the first ferry in B.C. to run on liquid natural gas.

BC Ferries hailed the Salish Orca as a more reliable alternative when it began its voyage to B.C. last fall.

In the summer of 2016, The Queen of Burnaby was hampered by mechanical problems that limited its use in adverse wind and weather. 

The vessel, which was built in Victoria, makes 54 sailings per week and travels 918 nautical miles in that time. It's powered by a pair of four-stroke diesel engines.

The Queen of Burnaby has multiple public spaces including cafeterias, a gift shop and kids zone. (govdeals.com)

'Limited market for used vessels'

The 38-year-old surplus vessel the Queen of Chilliwack was sold a year ago for an undisclosed sum. But, the deal made headlines questioning if BC Ferries got fair value.

"The cost to keep a ship such as the Queen of Chilliwack on stand-by in a ready capacity is approximately $1.5 million to $2 million per year," said the corporation in a release at the time.

"There is a limited market for used vessels, especially ships approaching 40 years of age," it also said, stating that it could not release the sale price, in order to protect the competitive bid process for other sales, such as that for the Queen of Burnaby.

The BC Ferries vessel the Queen of Burnaby has space for 904 passengers and crew. (govdeals.com)

In 2003, BC Ferries came under fire after selling a fleet of three fast ferries for just over $19 million. The vessels cost $450 million to build.

The NDP government at the time commissioned the ships as a way to improve service and spark the province's shipbuilding industry. In the end, the fast ferries did neither, and a host of problems left them tied to the dock.

The auction for the Queen of Burnaby closes at noon PT on Feb. 15, 2017.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.