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Transportation and Works
October 6, 2006

Minister Announces Release of Report on Ferry Fleet

The Honourable John Hickey, Minister of Transportation and Works, today announced the release of a report compiled by BMT Fleet Technology Limited (BMT) regarding the state of the provincially-owned ferry fleet that services the island portion of the province.

Marine services within Labrador will change significantly with the completion of the Trans Labrador Highway in 2009 and will therefore be the subject of a separate review at a later date.

Minister Hickey says the release of the BMT report is part of an ongoing ferry review process that will feed into a Vessel Replacement Strategy.

"We are releasing this report now so key stakeholders and members of the public who rely on ferry transportation, can access the information and bring their concerns forward to the department when we begin our consultation process in the coming weeks," said Minister Hickey.

"Itís obvious government has to proceed with replacing some of our aging vessels and we are clearly taking a very aggressive approach. In late July, the department announced we were seeking expressions of interest (EOI) from naval architectural consultants to develop the design and specifications for two new ferry vessels that will be constructed here in the province starting early next year."

"While decisions on some aspects of the BMT report can be deferred until we receive feedback from the communities served by ferries, the department will proceed immediately with vessel design and construction," added Minister Hickey.

In addition to the two vessels government will construct in 2007, planning will also proceed for construction of three more over the next five years.

"Due to years of neglect from the previous administration, the provinceís ferry fleet is not where it should be and, as this government pledged in its Blueprint, we are addressing the issue head-on," said Minister Hickey.

The BMT report is now accessible to the general public on the Transportation and Works web site: www.gov.nl.ca/tw/publications.stm.

Media contact:

David Salter
Director of Communications
Transportation and Works
709-729-3015, 691-3577
davidsalter@gov.nl.ca

2006 10 06                             2:10 p.m.


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