Queens Of British Columbia Going For Scrap



Shawn J. Dake

The QUEEN OF VANCOUVER in service after her extensive rebuilding. From the collection of Steven J. Pickens.

Two more members of the early fleet of British Columbia Ferries are on their way to the scrapyard.  The QUEEN OF VANCOUVER, built in 1962 by the Burrard Dry Dock Company at Vancouver along with the former QUEEN OF SAANICH, built in 1963 at the Victoria Machinery Depot in Victoria have been sold to Roberto Curiel who owns the graving dock in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.  They follow in the wake of their sister ship QUEEN OF ESQUIMALT which made the trek south in June, 2011 under the name PRINCESS JACQUELINE .

The QUEEN OF SAANICH plying her trade among the islands of British Columbia. From the collection of Steven J. Pickens

The first generation of purpose-built ferries served for about 45 years before being retired.  The QUEEN OF VANCOUVER and QUEEN OF SAANICH operated on Vancouver to Victoria routes from the mainland to Vancouver Island.  Their primary service was from the terminal at Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay but they might also depart from the  Horseshoe Bay terminal to Nanaimo.  The ships both shared very similar statistics and stories.  Like other members of the “V” Class quartet, they were originally of 3,540 gross tons, with the capability to carry 106 cars and 1,000 passengers.  Both were twice “stretched,” the first time by cutting them in half and adding a midsection which upped the tonnage to 4,890 gross tons.  This expanded their length to 426.5 feet overall.  The second time they were enlarged again,  this time by being cut horizontally, adding another deck and increasing the vehicle capacity to 338 cars,  and up to 1,369 passengers.  Their gross tonnage nearly doubled again with the QUEEN OF VANCOUVER being registered at 9,357 tons and QUEEN OF SAANICH at 9,302 tons.

After service to B.C. Ferries the QUEEN OF VANCOUVER was sold to Coast Marine.  It sat, unused, for three years at Woodfibre, B.C. on Howe Sound before being put up for sale again in June, 2011.  The ship was seized by court order and turned over to the primary creditor who sold it for scrap.  In July, 2012 it was moved to Fanny Bay for preparation work for the open ocean tow down the Pacific Coast.  The same ocean-going tug that was used last year, the  ALLEN G out of San Diego, is presently towing the ship to Ensenada.  The final voyage is expected to last 12 days.  Meanwhile, the ex QUEEN OF SAANICH has not left B.C. yet, but is expected to follow when the tug is again available.  After being retired the ship was renamed the OWEN BELLE and used as a floating logging camp.  It was up for sale again in August, 2011.

This leaves only three very similar near-sister ships of slightly later vintage in service for B.C. Ferries.  The 1964-built QUEEN OF NEW WESTMINSTER, QUEEN OF NANAIMO and the 1965-vintage QUEEN OF BURNABY, which gained some measure of fame by briefly taking on a very famous name as the PRINCESS MARGUERITE III.

See realted articles by Shawn J. Dake

Former Queen Of Esquimalt leaves Canada for Mexico/

MV COHO 50 years of reliable service by Shawn J Dake/

Thanks to Martin Cox and Steven J. Pickens.


Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake

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