British Columbia

TransLink's new SeaBus delayed to summer 2020

The newest Seabus that was supposed to be in use this summer has been delayed as the manufacturer makes final modifications to improve its handling, the president of Coast Mountain Bus Company told Translink's board today.

The Burrard Chinook sits too low in the water, modifications underway

The Burrard Chinook Translink's latest SeaBus needs to undergo modifications before it can go into service, now postponed to summer 2020. (Translink)

The newest SeaBus that was supposed to start sailing across Burrard Inlet this summer has been delayed to next summer after modifications to the vessel left it sitting lower in the water than it should. 

The Burrard Chinook, made by Damen Shipyards in the Netherlands, sits several inches lower in the water than it is designed to after some additional equipment was added to meet Translink's requirements.

Coast Mountain Bus Company, which operates the ferries as part of its bus fleet, updated Translink's board Tuesday in New Westminster. 

The vessel, which arrived in Vancouver in May, underwent local sea trials in early August, according to company president Michael McDaniel.  

"We've decided to make some final improve handling capability as it sits lower in the water than the other SeaBus vessels," McDaniel said.

That's because of the hull shape and the weight of the vessel, he said.

A significantly upgraded emission-control system that decreases emissions up to 75 per cent and increases air conditioning systems were added to the ship. 

There are concerns this could have adverse effects in rough sea conditions he said, adding there could be "alignment issues" in the terminals.

Still on budget

"The modifications are supposed to take a number of months, starting with the design phase of those modifications, and the Chinook is still in the possession of the shipbuilder," he said. 

The company hopes to get more than four decades of service out of the vessel. 

It says the delay will not affect schedule changes that have been in place since Sept. 3, increasing sailings to every 10 minutes during peak hours.

McDaniel said the new SeaBus would remain under its $29 million budget despite the extra work.

Watch video of TransLink's newest SeaBus: