Salish Orca, the first of three new natural gas-fuelled ferries, goes into service this spring. (BC Ferries image)

New BC Ferries CEO is veteran of service

Mark Collins takes over helm of Crown corporation from Mike Corrigan

BC Ferries has appointed long-time executive Mark Collins to take over for retiring CEO Mike Corrigan, after a stormy few years of fare increases, service reductions and the introduction of natural gas-fuelled vessels.

Collins is to take over April 1, moving from his current role of vice president of strategic planning and community engagement. He was BC Ferries’ vice president of engineering from 2004 to 2012, and was formerly president of Rolls Royce Marine Brazil and Italy.

BC Ferries board chair Donald Hayes said the provincially-owned ferry service interviewed internal and external candidates before opting to promote Collins.

“As a person who was born in Newfoundland, a ferry-dependent island, I understand first-hand the importance of a reliable ferry service to people’s lives,” Collins said.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone thanked Corrigan for his work and congratulated Collins.

“With B.C.’s first natural gas-fuelled ferries coming into service as part of an aggressive fleet renewal plan, and vehicle traffic up around four per cent so far this year thanks in part to a robust tourism industry, this is an exciting time to be taking over one of the largest coastal ferry services in the world,” Stone said.

The first dual-fuelled ferry for the fleet arrived in January from a Polish shipyard. Salish Orca is one of three mid-sized vessels that will use liquefied natural gas. It goes into service on the Powell River-Comox route this spring, replacing the Queen of Burnaby.

The other two, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven, are expected to go into service on the Southern Gulf Islands runs later this year.