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Woodfibre LNG buys local for Squamish 'floatel'

Former cruise ship to house 600 workers for Woodfibre LNG project in Squamish
The MV Isabelle is a former Estonian cruise ship recently refitted as a floatel.

Woodfibre LNG has selected a local provider – Vancouver's Bridgemans Services Group – to supply a floatel to house the workers who will build a new LNG plant in Squamish.

Bridgemans is a Vancouver-based company that uses former cruise ships for floating work camps, dubbed floatels. It has provided floatels for the Gorgon LNG project in Australia, the Wikinger offshore wind farm in Germany, and the Voisey’s Bay nickel mine in Labrador.

Woodfibre today announced that more than 600 workers who will work on the new Woodfibre LNG plant in Squamish will live aboard the MV Isabelle, an Estonian cruise ship built in 1989 and acquired and refitted earlier this year by Bridgemans.

Housing workers in a floatel reduces pressure on communities that otherwise might see homes and hotels swamped with out-of-town workers.

“A floatel proved to be the best option based on findings related to lowest socioeconomic impact to local community, lowest impact on highway and marine traffic and smallest environmental footprint,” Woodfibre LNG  president Christine Kennedy told The Squamish Chief earlier this month, when Woodfibre LNG received a certificate for the floatel from the BC Environmental Assessment Office.

“Using a floatel for workforce accommodation is intended to ensure minimal interaction with the community, while providing safe and comfortable housing for the construction workforce. It’s important to note that any non-local workers will have no access to the community of Squamish, except in the case of a medical emergency requiring treatment beyond the capacity of on-board providers.”

Bridgeman describes the MV Isabelle as “a luxurious home away from home with 652 newly renovated single cabins with private ensuites, a high-end dining room, lounges, meeting rooms, fast wi-fi, offices, medical care, a state-of-the-art 8,000-square-foot fitness facility, billiards and games room, and dedicated accommodations for crew members.”

Woodfibre LNG said it expects the floatel to arrive in the spring of 2024.

 -- With files from The Squamish Chief