September 30, 2005
(Transportation and Works)

Government examining options for building ferries in this province

Tom Rideout, Minister of Transportation and Works, today said that government is thoroughly examining options for building vessels in this province. Minister Rideout said, �My department is analyzing opportunities to build vessels in this province in terms of net economic benefits to the province, including job creation and economic development.�

Government�s Blueprint states: �Past Policy has been to replace over-aged vessels with used foreign-built vessels that require major repairs and will have to be replaced in 10-15 years. That does not make economic sense. Our vessel replacement policy will be guided by net economic benefits to the Province rather than acquisition cost.�

�This government takes its election commitments very seriously,� said Minister Rideout. �We are interested in doing what is best for the taxpayers of this province and doing appropriate research is an excellent example of this.�

The minister said that having vessels built at shipyards in this province is very much under consideration.

�Government would love to see all the shipyards in the province overflowing with work,� said Minister Rideout. �We will use the consultant�s report to enable us to build vessels within the province by examining our best options for shipbuilding locally. However, we do have the responsibility to examine all aspects of vessel replacement, including the cost of vessels available on the international market.

�Knowing what is available to be purchased is useful should we need to acquire a vessel immediately. Since we are currently putting all this effort into researching vessel replacement, it would be irresponsible for us to do this research without gathering that information.�

Government�s criticism of the previous administration has been for purchasing a vessel that isn�t suitable for the needs of the provincial ferry operation.

�The MV Nonia was a 13-year-old vessel that required $10 million and six years to put into service,� said the minister. �A consultant�s report will ensure mistakes like this are not repeated.�

The minister added that the previous government was prepared to replace a ferry based on political motivation. Minister Rideout said, �The previous administration was attempting to put a new ferry into a service that operated in the district represented by the previous Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. They weren�t prepared to do the appropriate research of scanning the condition of the existing fleet. Failing to look at the most beneficial means of implementing a replacement vessel may have resulted in mistakes similar to those encountered with the MV Nonia.

�Government will develop our vessel replacement strategy using solid research. This is a multi-million dollar program and must be handled carefully. When spending tens of millions of dollars, it is certainly prudent to spend a few hundred thousand dollars up front so that you can move forward in an informed manner.�

Minister Rideout said his department has made great strides toward developing transportation infrastructure throughout the province.

�There have been significant advances made on transportation files, including more than doubling the value of the provincial roads program, the inclusion of multiple provincial roads in the national highway system and improvements to the Labrador Marine Service,� said the minister. �Significant funding was allocated in Budget 2005 for our ferries, including $2.97 million for refits to the MV Sir Robert Bond and MV Northern Ranger, $4 million for annual and mid-life refits for ferries serving the island, $1 million for capital improvements to the province�s ferry terminals, and $500,000 for planning work toward an implementation of a provincial vessel replacement strategy.

�Government has been very proactive with making improvements to transportation infrastructure and this will continue where vessel replacement is concerned. Only two years into our current mandate, we are not only planning for a vessel replacement strategy, but have also made many steps forward to improve the province�s transportation infrastructure.�

Media contact: Lori Lee Oates, ABC, Communications, (709) 729-3015, 690-8403

2005 09 30                                 1:40 p.m.

SearchHomeBack to GovernmentContact Us

All material copyright the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. No unauthorized copying or redeployment permitted. The Government assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of any material deployed on an unauthorized server.
Disclaimer/Copyright/Privacy Statement