The Canadian federal (state-owned) corporation Marine Atlantic released details on its new cruiseferry, including the names of the shipyards competing to construct the vessel and an estimated timeline for completion.
Two European companies - Stena North Sea Ltd and Rederi AB Gotland - beat out 2 other companies to make the shortlist and move on to the next stage, with the end result of having a vessel in service in about 3- to 4-years' time. The purpose is to replace Leif Ericson ferry - Marine Atlantic fleet's oldest (1991-built).
Leif Ericson is significantly smaller than the other Marine Atlantic ferries (with max cargo capacity 60 vehicles) in comparison to Blue Puttees and Highlanders ferries (90-100 vehicles).
The new ferry will be similar to Blue Puttees and Highlander, both in size, facilities and amenities (including staterooms and food service). According to a press release, Marine Atlantic hopes to have the newbuild in service during the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
Money to pay for the new ferry was announced in the 2019 federal budget, with no exact figure attached.
Leif Ericson's fate, once the new ship is in service, is yet to be decided - sold or scrapped. Also not settled is what the newbuild would be named, and how the process would be done.