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NEWS RELEASE July 29, 2009

BC Shipyard Workers Federation says today’s sale of fast ferries for rumoured price of more than $50 million shows BC Liberal government was intent on not pursuing a deal in 2003 to score political points

VANCOUVER – Today’s sale of BC Ferries’ three fast ferries to an Abu Dhabi company in the United Arab Emirates for a rumoured price of more than $50 million shows that the BC Liberal government was intent on not pursuing a deal in 2003 to score political points, says the BC Shipyard General Workers’ Federation.

BC Ferries sold all three fast ferries to their builder, the Washington Marine Group, for $19.5 million in 2003. Today they were sold to Abu Dhabi Mar for an undisclosed amount.

“Today’s sale for what we believe is in excess of $50 million shows that the fast ferries had far more value than the BC Liberal government sold them for – meaning they shortchanged taxpayers to score political points against the NDP”, says Shipyard Workers Federation president George MacPherson.

“The rush to sell the fast ferries at any price was clearly a big mistake by Premier Gordon Campbell because if a more serious effort had been made they could have been sold six years ago for far more than the price received today,” MacPherson said. “The government not only sold them for a fraction of their true value to Washington Marine Group but they also wrongly tainted them as poorly-built vessels by selling them for such a low price.”

MacPherson says the Washington Marine Group easily more than doubled its money even considering storage and maintenance costs.

“We don’t know what price Washington Marine Group got but if it was more than the $50 million we are hearing and they bought them for $19.5 million, there is no way the storage and maintenance costs were more than a few million – that’s a tidy profit any way you slice it,” MacPherson said. “Unfortunately it was taxpayers who were fleeced by the BC Liberals in their efforts to smear the opposition.”

For more information: Call George MacPherson at cell 604-220-3291 or Bill Tieleman, West Star Communications, at 604-844-7827 or cell 778-896-0964.

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