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NEWS RELEASE July 19, 2004

BC Ferries' secret decision to build 3 Super C Class ships in Europe instead of previously stated 2 means that BC shipyards lose 2000 jobs and $500 million investment, say shipyard unions

Shipyard Workers' Federation says Ferries will announce foreign shipyard deal shortly

VANCOUVER – BC Ferry Services has secretly decided to build three new Super-C Class ferries in a European shipyard, one more than previously known, in a move that will cost British Columbia shipyards 2,000 jobs and a more than $500 million investment, says the Shipyard General Workers' Federation.

The Federation says its sources and other information indicate that construction of three Super-C Class ferries will be awarded to a foreign shipyard in either Finland or Germany very soon.

“This is a disastrous blow for BC shipyards and their workers that makes no sense for the province's economy,” says Federation president George MacPherson. “Each of these ships is worth about $170 million and takes nearly 700 workers to build – those dollars and jobs are coming from British Columbians and should stay in British Columbia .”

BC shipyards have been excluded from the final bidding process, MacPherson said. BC Ferry Services has to date failed to acknowledge the huge shipbuilding project will go to a foreign shipyard but the Federation revealed in April that two new Super-C Class ferries would be built overseas.

MacPherson said that in addition to information from sources, a shipbuilding industry publication, Harbour & Shipping , quoted BC Ferry Services' CEO David Hahn in its July edition as saying that three Super-C Class ferries would be built rather than the two previously planned. BC Ferry Services was reported to be attempting to purchase a used ferry but has apparently now decided to build an extra one instead.

“Why would BC Ferry Services and the BC Liberal government export a huge number of jobs and a major investment to a foreign country? Why would they take taxpayers' hard-earned money and send it overseas to stimulate a foreign country's industry and economy?” MacPherson asked. “This decision is financially wrong, it's morally wrong and it's beyond comprehension.”

MacPherson said the Shipyard General Workers' Federation will appeal to British Columbians to pressure the provincial government and BC Ferry Services to stop its plans immediately and bring the jobs and investment back home to BC.

For more information : Call George MacPherson at 604-254-8204 or cell 604-220-3291 or Bill Tieleman, West Star Communications, at 604-844-7827 or cell 778-896-0964.


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