The government of Newfoundland and Labrador has awarded Damen Shipyards Group of the Netherlands an order for two state-of-the-art, 80 metre Ice Class ferries, which will operate on the Fogo Island-Change Islands service, as well as the Bell Island and Portugal Cove-St. Philips service. The ferries will be able to carry up to 200 passengers and 60 vehicles. The $102 million investment in new ferries is part of the Government’s vessel renewal program. Scheduled for delivery in September 2015, the first of the 14-knot ferries will service the Fogo Island-Change Islands service. She will replace the aging MV Captain Earl Winsor. The second ferry is scheduled to be delivered in February of 2016, and will replace the MV Beaumont Hamel. An additional sum of $10 million will be spent to upgrade wharf infrastructure on Bell Island and in Portugal Cove to accommodate the new vessel.

Fifteen proposals were received in response to the Government’s request for proposals. Government representatives visited Damen headquarters and its shipyards, as well as some ferries previously built by Damen for the Texel-Den Helder service in the Netherlands. Following an extensive evaluation process, Damen received the highest overall score of all the proposals and ‘will provide the best value to the province and a high quality vessel that will be delivered on time and on budget’.

Jan van Hogerwou, Manager North America, Damen Shipyards Group, said: “Damen is proud to have been selected to partner with the government of Newfoundland and Labrador to build the new ferries. “Damen is not new to the East Coast of Canada. We have licensed our Spa 4207 patrol boat design to Irving Shipyards for the local construction of the Mid Shore Patrol Program of the Canadian Coast Guard, and we recently delivered two high-end pontoons to a Canadian operator for deployment at a large offshore project in Newfoundland and Labrador. “However, this will be the first ferry project on the East Coast of Canada and that really excites us. The 80 metre ferries were designed by Fleetway Inc., a J.D. Irving Ltd. Company, in association with Knud E. Hansen A/S, a Danish engineering firm, and the Damen Shipyards Group looks forward to further enhancing the working relationship with this company to ensure that this new vessel meets all possible requirements, not only for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador but also for the passengers she will transport in the next few decades.” Together with the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Damen is exploring other opportunities to further development of the shipbuilding industry in the region.