September 19, RE: Cable Ferry Project

PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER September 19, 2013 British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. Suite Blanshard Street Victoria, BC V8W 0B7 Tel (250) RE: Cable Ferry Project
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PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER September 19, 2013 British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. Suite Blanshard Street Victoria, BC V8W 0B7 Tel (250) RE: Cable Ferry Project I'm writing to address concerns that have been raised by some regarding our intentions to provide ferry service between Buckley Bay and Denman Island with a cable ferry. As President and CEO, I fully endorse and support this project. I am confident that the proposed cable ferry will continue to allow BC Ferries to provide the same level of service as our current ferry, while still allowing us to maintain our high standard of safety. I, as well as my team, have been working on this project for close to four years and engaged some of the best engineering and naval architectural firms in the world to ensure that we have conducted a thorough review of all areas (cable type/sizing/securing arrangements, vessel design/passenger comfort, terminal design, wind/wave/tide conditions). In fact, most likely we have done more due diligence regarding this cable ferry project than was done on the other 65 cable ferries currently operating in Canada combined. In my former executive positions at BC Ferries, I oversaw the successful introduction of approximately $2 Billion in capital projects over the last 10 years including the successful introduction of the largest double ended ferries in the world (Coastal Class) as well as the largest floating ferry berth in the world (Berth 2 at Swartz Bay). Although both these projects were considered to be leading edge (not bleeding edge) at the time, they ultimately proved successful because of the comprehensive design and engineering work done upfront including simulation testing. The cable ferry project has followed a similar process even though it would be hard to argue that based on the number of cable ferries operating through out the world (some going back hundreds of years if not longer) that the technology could be considered leading edge . I understand that even if we were to gain support from cable ferry critics regarding the technical issues, it is still difficult for the communities of Denman and Hornby Islands to understand how we can take away the Quinitsa and replace it with a cable ferry when everything is working just fine now. The answer is one that unfortunately I don't think people of the two communities may ever accept. We are replacing the Quinitsa with a cable ferry because we honestly believe that we can provide an equivalent level of service from a safety and reliability standpoint for considerably less costs (approximately $2 million per year equally split between labour savings and fuel/maintenance savings). This equates to a savings of $80 million over the 40-year life of the cable ferry. We can then redeploy the Quinitsa as a refit relief vessel on a number of routes across our system so that we can retire another vessel without replacement. The $2 million dollars we save annually operating the cable ferry versus the traditional ferry will help keep fares across the system as low as possible. Unfortunately, the direct benefits of $2 million in savings per year cannot go solely to lower fares on the Denman ferry route since legislation and regulation is intended to spread the benefits and costs of capital decisions across the entire ferry system. There are pluses and minuses with this type of regulation. Overall, for the minor routes, I would suggest that there are more pluses than minuses, since the high revenue generating major routes Page 2 can be used to subsidize costs and keep fares down on the minor routes. Also, the extreme effects of multi-million dollar refit and capital upgrade projects on minor routes get spread across the system and are not allocated to a singe route for fare recovery. From a safety standpoint, I have also heard from community members and our Union regarding the proposed crewing levels for the cable ferry. We expect to operate the cable ferry with three crew members. However, Transport Canada may determine a different crew size than three. We have said publicly that if Transport Canada's crew size is less than three we will commit to a crew of three. Likewise, if Transport Canada's crewing level is more than three we are required by law to crew at that level. With all this being said, it is important to note from our research that none of the 65 cable ferries in Canada operate with more than two crew. Additionally, BC Ferries crew operating our cable ferry will be trained to a much higher standard then that of other cable ferry operators in Canada. Since the cable ferry will be crewed with less crew than the Quinitsa, we have addressed potential safety concerns regarding the requirement to fight a fire by adding modern fire suppression technology such as a hi-fog water mist system and remote fire monitors through-out the cable ferry. Both these systems can be deployed instantaneously from the operating station on the car deck. We have also equipped the cable ferry with a rescue craft for any potential man overboard incidents. In closing, I would once again like to assure you that we will not compromise safety, the lives of our passengers/crew and the overall reputation of BC Ferries. We are confident that our proposed cable ferry will continue to provide Denman and Hornby residents with the level of service they have come to expect over many decades. Once the cable ferry and associated docks are finalized, we will be running months of operational and training exercises before the integrated system is given a green light to commence service. During that timeframe, the existing ferry service provided by the Quinitsa will continue to operate. We will not put the cable ferry into service until we are absolutely confident that it can provide an equivalent level of service as the existing ferry. As a final service guarantee, if for some highly unlikely reason we experience an issue with putting the cable ferry in service, the existing docks will remain in place for several years and the Quinitsa will be made available to continue providing service. I have attached our most recent Cable Ferry Facts September 2013 for your information as well. Sincerely, Mike Corrigan President & Chief Executive Officer Attachment Cable Ferry Facts September 2013 There is a lot of information out there regarding BC Ferries plans for a cable ferry for the Buckley Bay Denman Island route, and we d like to take the opportunity to clarify the facts Service Reliability The cable ferry will be designed to operate with up to 55 knots of sustained wind with gusts up to 80 knots. This is consistent with the heavy weather matrix for the MV Quinitsa, which is the current vessel operating on the Buckley Bay Denman Island route. If sustained winds exceed 55 knots, service would be suspended. When sustained winds exceed 35 knots, heavy weather precautions will be initiated. BC Ferries expects service reliability for the cable ferry to be per cent. Service Guarantee BC Ferries is obligated under the Coastal Ferry Services Contract to provide service at a specified level as per the Coastal Ferry Services Contract to Denman Island. The company will leave the marine infrastructure in place that currently exists for the conventional service for the remainder of its useful life (20 years for Buckley Bay and 7 to 10 years for Denman West) after the cable ferry enters service. Environmental Conditions BC Ferries has conducted an extensive wind, wave and current analysis in order to properly define the operability limits for the cable ferry and to ensure reliability of the service. In this application, wind data is particularly critical due to the fact that the wave conditions are almost entirely generated by the local wind. The sheltered configuration of Baynes Sound means that there is minimal fetch or exposure to swells generated out of the area. BC Ferries collected wind, current and wave data over several months in both the spring 2008/winter 2009 and the fall/winter of 2012 at the location of the ferry route. This data was used to develop and validate correlations with the long term statistical databases from several of the local weather stations. The data is not used to identify statistical extreme values, but to develop the probability of occurrence of any particular combinations of wind speed and direction and wave conditions. The overall analysis did allow for the prediction of the one year, 50 year and 100 year wind, wave and current data with a high degree of certainty. The extreme values of the 100 year wave and current and the 55 knot sustained wind (greater than the predicted 100 year wind) formed the design parameters for the cable ferry. Winds vary in different areas. While the analysis BC Ferries undertook also looked at the Comox Airport and other locations, the cable ferry will be operating in the confines of Baynes Sound. The wind speeds at Buckley Bay and Denman West were found to be 60 per cent of the wind speed at Comox and the midchannel speed were increased by 20 per cent to eliminate any land effect. In addition to the above, the overall weather analysis confirmed that the conditions in Baynes Sound are suitable for cable ferry operation. Simply put, Baynes Sound has much reduced 100 year extreme values in comparison with Lambert Channel or other areas of Georgia Strait. Vessel Design BC Ferries engaged KPFF as the lead company to manage the overall integration of the cable ferry system, which includes the vessel, terminal and marine infrastructure as well as the cable design. Page 2 EYE Consultants, a Canadian leader in cable ferry design, along with Elliott Bay Design Group were hired to design the cable ferry. The vessel has been designed to carry the same number of cars as the Quinitsa, including a proportion for commercial traffic. As cable ferries are lighter than conventional ferries, a shallow draft low resistance hull is adopted, which provides excellent stability and carrying capacity for minimal power. This type of hull is suited to the generally benign conditions in Baynes Sound, where only the most severe wave conditions will initiate vessel motion and will result in a transition to heavy weather precautions. BC Ferries engaged E.Y.E. Marine Consultants, along with Oceanic Consulting Corporation, for the provision of wind testing, computational fluid dynamics analysis and model testing. The validation process consisted of checking weights, intact stability, and damaged stability against regulatory standards. A preliminary bulkhead arrangement was determined to confirm that the floodable length standards were met. Structural calculations were performed to confirm that the weights and longitudinal strength were acceptable. Finally a preliminary resistance calculation was prepared to identify that service demands and speed requirements would be met. All of the validation work confirmed that the ferry exceeded regulatory standards and would result in a safe and seaworthy vessel. Diameter of Cable The three cables will be 1 5/8 inches in diameter. The cable loads were modeled using an advanced timedomain simulation by DSA Limited that simulated the transit of the ferry across Baynes Sound in various weather conditions including the 100 year storm and 55 knot winds. The motion of the ferry was simulated as was the geometry of the cable as is it is lifted off the bottom during each transit simulation. A scenario with a failed cable (two cables operating) was also modeled. This modeling was done to ensure that in the unlikely event a cable breaks that the vessel can safely return to dock so the cable can be changed; BC Ferries does not intend to continue operating the ferry with two cables in such circumstances but to immediately replace the broken cable. The loads from the cables were safety factored using criteria scaled from (and exceeding) the American Petroleum Institute (API) offshore mooring design standard to identify the required breaking strength of the cables. These are not just arbitrary standards, but standards well in use in the design of offshore oil and gas platforms. They are very stringent standards in that industry to protect the safety of platform workers, billions of dollars of assets and adhere to strict environmental regulations. This analysis identified that 1 5/8 inch cable would be more than suitable, even in the event of a cable failure. Professional engineers have scrutinized and signed off on the analysis and design. Reliability of Cables It is planned that the cables will be in service for a maximum of three years. Each cable will serve as a drive cable for one year and then be used in the guide cable position for the following two years. In the unlikely event a guide cable breaks, the cable ferry has get-home capability. In the unlikely event the drive cable breaks, the cable ferry has been designed with specific tug boat attachment points such that it can be transited into dock by a tug. BC Ferries will have a robust planned and preventative maintenance program in place to further maximize the reliability of the cables and their useful life. The cables will be changed out, prior to reaching failure. Independent Engineering Professionals While BC Ferries has been studying the cable ferry for over three years, the company has hired 14 independent professional engineering firms to works on all the elements of this project including the design, analysis and the various studies. Page 3 Changes in Crew Complement The crew for a vessel is determined by the various positions required to operate the vessel and by the number of crew required by Transport Canada to address passenger safety in the event of possible evacuation or other emergency (based on passenger capacity, vessel configuration and emergency equipment and procedures). A cable ferry is a much simpler vessel to operate both with respect to navigation and engineering. The 65 other cable ferries operating in Canada do so with a crew of one or two. BC Ferries is proposing a crew of three for this cable ferry. Transport Canada requires a crew of 6 for the Quinitsa based upon its passenger capacity of 300 and its particular configuration and emergency equipment. The crewing level could actually be reduced to 5 if the passenger capacity was reduced to the number actually carried. The crewing level for the cable ferry can be further reduced because the vessel will be easier to evacuate and will have advanced emergency equipment. The proposed crew of 3 has been confirmed through a risk assessment process facilitated by Lloyds Register and is based on the understood criteria used by Transport Canada. The actual required crewing level will be determined by Transport Canada once the vessel has been built and inspected. If Transport Canada requires more than 3, BC Ferries will crew the vessel accordingly. If Transport Canada requires less than 3, BC Ferries will still operate the cable ferry with a crew of three. Local Employment There are approximately 30 employees assigned to the MV Quinitsa. Approximately half of these employees live on Denman Island and the other half commute to work from other communities. BC Ferries expects that the cable ferry will operate with half the present crew of the Quinitsa. The actual job positions involved in operating the cable ferry are yet to be finalized through discussions between BC Ferries and its employees and the BC Ferry and Marine Workers Union, but a likely outcome is that Denman employees could be trained to be qualified for all the positions on the cable ferry. The actual crewing component depends on the outcome of BC Ferries working with employees and the union within the provisions of the Collective Agreement to develop a plan for each individual currently employed on Route 21 to maximize employment opportunities. Emergency Assistance The cable ferry will be equipped with a rescue craft for man overboard incidents or to respond to a marine rescue. The current after-hours call-out capability will continue to be provided in the event of a medical emergency on the island requiring an ambulance run during non-operational hours. Consultation Feedback As a result of numerous community and employee consultation sessions on Denman and Hornby islands over the last few years, the company has committed to the following: BC Ferries will operate the cable ferry itself to its own high safety standards and will not contract it out BC Ferries will continue to homeport the vessel on Denman Island to maximize job opportunities for existing BC Ferries employees and also to optimize emergency call out service from Denman Island to Vancouver Island after hours. Page 4 Service Improvements The cable ferry system will improve service in the following key areas: Refit maintenance period once every 10 years as compared to current once in four year refit cycle of the Quinitsa Modern fire suppression technology (hi-fog and remote operated fire monitors) which provide for instantaneous fire fighting capabilities in the machinery spaces, passenger accommodations and on the vehicle deck Two lane offloading with future two lane loading possibilities Faster loading and unloading for vehicles and foot passengers Gated pet area on board Covered and uncovered outside seating Greater disabled accessibility Modern marine ramps and pontoons Reduced maintenance requirements Expanded Denman West terminal more efficient, more parking and proper lane for drop-off.
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