Working BC Ferries vessel listed for price of a used car
The Howe Sound Queen is seen in this undated image from the BC Ferries website.
CTV News Vancouver
Published Thursday, April 18, 2019 4:12PM PDT
It's not as fancy as the Coastal Inspiration, but the price tag is hard to beat.
Another BC Ferries vessel has been put up for auction, and the high bid for the Howe Sound Queen was just $10,751 as of Thursday afternoon – cheaper than a lot of used cars.
The 55-year-old Bureau Veritas model ferry isn't in bad shape, either. In fact, it's still making dozens of round-trip sailings per week.
According to the auction listing on the GovDeals website, the vessel is expected to remain in service until June, at which point it will be "kept warm and in operational state" until it can change hands.
The 74-metre-long ferry was built in Quebec in 1964, weighs 921 tonnes, and has room for 300 people and 52 cars. What it doesn't have is a lot of bells and whistles.
While it was originally called the Napoleon L., it earned the nickname "Hound" for its "lack of amenities and poor handling of heavy seas," according to a profile on the West Coast Ferries website.
It does work, though. BC Ferries spent $3 million on a major retrofit in the late-2000s, and the 1,609 horsepower ferry can still make 9.75 knots.
The auction ends at 2 p.m. on April 30, meaning potential buyers have less than two weeks go make an offer. The listing notes that non-Canadian buyers will be responsible for transporting the Howe Sound Queen out of the country.
"Please be aware that the seller cannot provide exporting or importing procedure assistance," it reads. "Any reputable freight forwarded can provide valuable assistance."
Two years ago, BC Ferries managed to auction off its much-larger Queen of Burnaby for a reported sale price of just over $650,000.
By comparison, the vessel was about the same age as the Howe Sound Queen but could hold more than twice as many passengers and nearly four times as many vehicles.