Advancing the province’s vessel replacement strategy, the Provincial Government today announced its intent to issue a request for expressions of interest from the shipbuilding industry in this province to construct six new ferries for the provincial fleet.

“As we saw our first two ferries hit the seas this spring, we experienced the real-life success of our vessel replacement strategy, and I am excited to announce today that we are moving forward with that strategy to further enhance our fleet,” said the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Transportation and Works. “With this request for expressions of interest, we will develop a short list of qualified manufacturing facilities within Newfoundland and Labrador that have the potential to accommodate the construction of these six ferries.”

The design of the six identical, small-sized ferries is expected to be complete in summer 2012, with construction to begin upon design completion.

Five of the new vessels will replace ferries currently serving the following routes on the south coast of Newfoundland:
• La Poile – Rose Blanche
• Francois – Grey River – Burgeo
• Rencontre East – Pool’s Cove – Bay L’Argent
• South East Bight – Petite Forte
• Gaultois – McCallum – Hermitage

The sixth new vessel will serve Williams Harbour and Norman Bay in Southern Labrador.
The ferries will have a minimum capacity of 35 passengers and will be wheelchair accessible. The design of the vessel also requires a separate and private medical transfer room for patients.

“This government continues to invest in rural areas of our province,” said Minister Hedderson. “These state-of-the-art vessels will serve those who rely on our provincial ferry fleet on a daily basis. Step by step, we will enhance the fleet through this strategy.”

Budget 2011 Standing Strong: For Prosperity. For Our Future. For Newfoundland and Labrador provides $39.3 million for the continuation of the vessel replacement strategy. This includes funding to begin construction of a third medium-sized vessel, to complete the design and begin construction of a large-size vessel and to complete the design and purchase materials for six small-size ferry vessels.

The request for expressions of interest will be advertised in The Telegram and The Western Star on Wednesday, June 29.

A copy of the REOI may be obtained by contacting Keith Dawe at or Stephen Slaney at or by phoning 709-729-3786.