The former BC ferry MV Tanaka will be leaving Port Alberni’s harbour at the end of March after someone in Alaska bought it from Lady Rose Marine Services. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

The former BC ferry MV Tanaka will be leaving Port Alberni’s harbour at the end of March after someone in Alaska bought it from Lady Rose Marine Services. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Lady Rose sells old B.C. ferry, ends hopes of West Coast of Vancouver Island run

Port Alberni business had hopes of servicing car ferry to west coast before COVID-19 hit

The former BC ferry that has been sitting in Port Alberni’s harbour for four and a half years has been sold.

Mike Surrell, owner of Lady Rose Marine Services, purchased the former MV Tenaka from BC Ferries in 2016 intending to use it as a cargo vessel to complement the business he already does with the MV Frances Barkley.

There was so much interest from people asking if he was going to start a car ferry from Port Alberni up Vancouver Island’s west coast that he began working with the provincial government on plans to do just that.

READ: Potential vehicle ferry from Alberni harbour to Bamfield and Ucluelet

However, government red tape makes for slow progress, and the economic strife surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has forced Surrell to sell the vessel.

“It’s been bought by a private family who reside in Alaska,” Surrell said Monday, March 8. “They plan to use it in the construction industry up there in some form.”

Surrell sold the ferry for an undisclosed amount of money. He had purchased it in the spring of 2016 after winning a public bidding process through BC Ferries.

The ferry’s sale dashes any hope of Lady Rose Marine Services providing car ferry service to the west coast. Surrell said although he had been slowly acquiring infrastructure to run a car ferry, the sale of the former MV Tenaka has quashed his plans. He does not intend to look for another ferry once the economy turns around post-COVID-19.

“Ships like that are hard to find. I know the vessel looks ugly but it’s in very, very good condition.”

Surrell said the ferry will depart Port Alberni around the end of March.

The vessel’s new owner will have his own crew sail it to Bellingham, Washington to retrofit it to his needs. He will load it with equipment after that and head for Alaska.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

RELATED: Ucluelet mayor says highway closure shows need for car ferry between Port Alberni and west coast



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

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