Growing demand and a 2015 breakdown spurs purchase of MV Tenaka.
The MV Tenaka used to ply the waters between Quadra Island and Cortes Island for BC Ferries, but soon it will be on the other side of Vancouver Island taking tourists and freight from Port Alberni to Bamfield and other communities in Barkeley Sound.
“We’re going to go ahead and have a crew come in here and they’re going to go ahead and dig us a proper berth for the vessel” said Mike Surrell, owner of Lady Rose Marine Services in Port Alberni as he explained where the new vessel will be tied up.
Surrell has owned Lady Rose Marine Services for 10 years, but it has been around for 70 years.
He says the timing was right for another vessel to join his other boat, the MV Frances Barkeley.
“The business has been getting busier year after year and we got lucky and heard of the vessel coming available from BC Ferries. As soon as the RFP came out we went after it right away. We’re very excited to have this vessel, it’s very good for the continuation of this company” said Surrell.
People come from around the world to ride down the Alberni inlet and see the wild west coast, while staying at the Sechart Lodge, also owned by Lady Rose. 12,000 to 15,000 people are taken out every year boosting the local economy by $6million to $7 million dollars annually.
So when they are that busy, they can’t afford break downs like last summer.
“Yeah unfortunately we had last year just before the fall we had hit something in the canal and had some major damage done to our vessel. It put us out of the water in refit for a couple of months and that really hurt the company and also educated me that we needed to have a standby” added Surrell.
BC Ferries says he’ll have to change the name from MV Tenaka and Surrell say he will be doing a refit on the vessel before it goes into service on the west coast.
“It was built in 1965, our other vessel the Frances Barkeley was built in ’58, still operating, still doing well. I would expect that with the maintenance and the way it’s been done and the vessel’s been looked after by BC Ferries it will probably last us another 20 to 30 years” said Surrell.
No financial details of the purchase have been released.