By David F. Rooney
After generations of service ferrying travellers in cars, RVs and transport trucks across Upper Arrow Lake, the Diesel Electric Vessel (DEV) Galena is going out of service on December 31.
“As planned, the ministry has maintained the DEV Galena as a back-up for the MV Columbia during the two-year warranty period of the new ship; the DEV Galena is at the end of its service life, and will be retired on December 31, 2016,” Sonia Lowe of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said on Friday, December 16. “The Galena has been in service since 1968.”
The MV Columbia was designed and built by Waterbridge Steel Inc. at Nakusp to be a robust and reliable replacement for the Galena and the MV Shelter Bay. Officially launched in 2014, the Columbia is massive. It is 320 feet long, 64 feet wide and weighs approximately 2.5 million pounds or 1,100 metric tons. It has a captain, a crew of five and can carry 80 cars at a time. The Shelter Bay and Galena Bay, which it replaced, could only carry 36 and 32 cars at a time.
The MV Columbia is equipped with hatches for quick replacement of propulsion equipment, and the operator has a full set of replacement parts for all major components. In addition, it’s equipment and systems can be fully serviced from the car deck or inside the vessel.
“The ministry has not finalized the decommissioning plan for the Galena, but options include disassembly or sale,” Lowe said. “It would cost millions to keep the vessel ready as a back-up and the money is better spent ensuring the Columbia can be quickly repaired.”