Vancouver, B.C. March 10, 2014 – The owners and staff of Bridgemans will gather at Vancouver Harbour tomorrow afternoon to welcome the Silja Festival, a 171-metre (555-foot) Baltic Sea cruise ferry the company is having converted into a luxurious full-service international accommodations vessel for industrial workforces.
The 11-deck ship, which was commissioned in 1986 and refitted in 1992, was acquired from Estonian-based ferry operator, Tallink Group, and departed Tallinn on January 28 destined for Vancouver. While in Panama, it underwent the initial phase of a $3M conversion into a 700-room “Floatel” that will feature the amenities, services and atmosphere of a modern cruise ship in any marine region of the world.
The Silja Festival will soon be dry-docked in Vancouver where the refit and conversion will be completed. Under the name Bridgemans Festival, the ship will then set sail for Kitimat Harbour, where it will go into service providing premium hotel and catering services for 450 employees of Bechtel who will soon begin helping to complete the modernization of the adjacently located Rio Tinto Alcan aluminum smelter.
“We are not out to be just another company offering workforce accommodations,” said Grange. “Our strategy is to provide our clients with truly extraordinary accommodations solutions that are cost-effective, sustainable and assist them to retain the skilled workers they need to be successful.”
Bechtel anticipates that the vessel will provide a cruise-ship atmosphere that will be well received by employees. “I am confident that our employees will be pleasantly surprised when they see what kind of a living environment it will provide,” said Don Ritchie, Workforce Services manager for Bechtel. “We’re also pleased to have found a means to accommodate workers without putting additional strain on the housing issues the city and its residents are dealing with at present.”
The ship, which will be re-commissioned as Bridgemans Festival, is expected to arrive at berth in Kitimat Harbour on March 28, 2014.