Disposing of the PacifiCats
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Disposing of the PacifiCats


Disposing of the PacifiCats

The ghosts that haunt the local NDP government and BC Ferries (British Columbia, Canada) are not going away anytime soon. Fast ferries critic Robert Ward has levelled serious allegations of misinterpretation against BC Ferries and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the exclusive advisor and manager for the sale of the controversial PacifiCat ferries.

"I don't expect an accounting firm to be terribly knowledgeable in technical affairs," says Ward. "But they (PwC) should do their own due diligence before they go public with a document that is being circulated throughout the world." According to Ward, performance specification accompanying sales literature being sent to prospective buyers is incorrect, misleading and could possibly expose British Columbia taxpayers to further loss. According to a July 20, 2000 "Notice to all interested parties" issued by PwC, the 122 metre vessels are capable of carrying "1,000 passengers and 250 auto equivalent units at a speed of 34 knots."

According Ward the capacity to which the vessels are loaded determines the vessels' performance. He says the vessels are not capable of operating at top speed while carrying a full load. While PwC carefully noted that the 250 represents "auto equivalent units" , Ward says at 184 vehicles, the PacifiCat's hull was so deep in the water that the legal load markings had been reached."

"In commercial marine terms, inability to carry intended load and inability to obtain intended speed at full load is a disaster," explains Ward. "Commercial revenues and the ability to meet time tables so that investment in the ship can be paid off as planned is essential for the well being of the purchaser. Ward says he knows instances where "sophisticated purchasers" have refused to take ships they had previously committed to purchasing. Ward says PwC should demand new sea trials be conducted by an independent party.

Full article: Business Examiner by Lyle Jenish, Aug. 14 - Sept. 4, 2000, Victoria


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