Foreign Flagged Ferry for Pacific NW Route

[B]Foreign Flagged Ferry for Pacific NW Route[/B]

Monday, November 09, 2009


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      The Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division, operating as Washington State Ferries (WSF) issued this Request for Information (RFI) to determine the availability of a foreign flagged ferry for an international ferry route, as follows:  

WSF is the world’s largest ferry system based on the number of vehicles carried each year and the third largest in the world based on the 23,000,000 passengers served each year. WSF operates mostly domestic ferry routes in Puget Sound, Washington USA, but also operates a ferry route from Anacortes, Washington to Sidney, B.C. Canada (the “International Route”).

WSF is seeking information on the purchase/sale availability of a foreign flagged ferry that WSF would operate on the International Route, contingent upon no intermediate stops in the San Juan Islands or elsewhere in the U.S. Direct sailing time would be approximately two hours one way. The ferry should have the following characteristics, and any exceptions should be so noted:
• Able to complete two Anacortes, WA – Sidney, B.C. round trips per day
• 1,200 passengers
• 90-160 vehicles
• Minimum 14 knots, 18 knots desirable
• Either double-ended or have enough power to maneuver into dock
• Single-ended vessel would need to have vehicle deck drive-around capabilities (always stern load)
• Built to current SOLAS standards
• Meets USCG 100% life raft capability
• Overhead passenger loading fit up
• American With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant
• Passenger elevator from vehicle deck on each end
• Freeboard of 6-8 feet for transfer span fit up
• Draft 17-20 feet for winter weather stability for a standard displacement hull
• Able to fit into existing docks (approximately 24-foot opening between wing walls that extend aft approximately 30-feet at angles of 34◦ to 40◦ from transfer span centerline
• Current USCG approved SOLAS Pilothouse Electronic suite
• Diesel powered using #2 marine diesel fuel
• Supportable non-obsolete equipment with reliable parts availability
• Sufficient fuel capacity to enable refueling no more frequently than every 3-4 days
• Adequate water capacity, using no evaporator(s), support the 1200 passenger capacity
• Adequate sewage holding capability – no Marine Sanitation Devices (MSDs)
• Sized for American vehicles. WSF standards 18.5’ long/8.5’ wide/8.5’ tall. 3’ walkway in between. At least partial 14-foot overhead clearance for tall vehicles
• Vehicle Deck: strong enough to support 80,000 lb vehicle weights

Interested parties should send a description of proposed vessels to the address listed below. The responses are non-binding. This RFI will also be posted on the following WSF web site: www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/contracts
(Source: Passenger Vessel Association)

LOL

Oh yeah . . Has anyone called BC Ferries yet?

Welcome to Anacortes, eh?

As a follow-up to this, and this is amazing to me:

I just received word from Mr. David Moseley, the Director of the WSF system, that his agency was compelled to develop this RFI by a provision in the Washington State Budget. So my state’s legislature is looking to skirt cabotage law.

Isn’t that just neato?

After reading the state budget, it looks like they want to by a foreign boat for the run. Is it possible to re-flag a foreign hull as an inspected passenger vessel in the US? Doesn’t it require an act of congress to do something like that?

The ferry systems RFI release makes it sound though as if they don’t want to reflag it, since they specify that it can’t make stops in the US along the way between Sydney, B.C. and Anacortes, WA.

Anyone out there in gCaptain land with this type of expertise who can contribute would be greatly appreciated.

Reflagging a foreign ship to US flag is done for Container and Tanker Ships, I don’t know why it couldn’t be done for a Passenger Vessel. But I think you’re correct when you state they want a foreign flag for this run, that way they can save on expenses like crew salary etc.

A foreign built vessel can and in the case of WSF, almost certainly will be reflagged US. Just look at the Victoria Clipper boats, 2 of them are Norwegian built, US flagged and American crewed. This is nothing new, it is not some scam to evade American laws.

Since the proposed run is Anacortes - Victoria - Anacortes it does not conflict with the Passenger Vessel Services Act and is legal. It looks like WSF is trying to get a boat quickly and at less cost than building new in a US yard.

Why not use public money to put taxpayers out of work? It has become a fine American tradition and WSF is probably happy to join the mainstream of flag wavers who think that union laborers in American yards are living too well. Besides, it’s not cheap to keep all those folks on 2nd Ave fed watered.

I don’t know why WSF fugures it needs to make that run and bypass the islands but not much those folks do seems to make much sense most of the time.

• Sized for American vehicles…

Looks like a tough spec to meet, very similar to their NB RFQs, so will be interesting to see if they can get anything. Other than existing vessels already doing this type of trade, like BCF as Capt. Electron says, is there really anything else out there?