SQUAMISH, B.C. — A ship that will house more than 600 workers at a natural gas construction project north of Vancouver arrived in British Columbia waters this week after a 40-day journey from Estonia, where it had been in use by Ukrainian refugees.

Bridgemans Services Group, the company contracted to provide the so-called “floatel,” or floating hotel, for workers at the Woodfibre LNG project near Squamish, B.C., shared a photo of the MV Isabelle in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet on Wednesday.

The statement says the “luxury” ship was set to receive “final touches” at a North Vancouver shipyard, including games tables and equipment for a fitness facility, before making its way up Howe Sound to the site of the former pulp and paper mill seven kilometres southwest of Squamish.

The ship recently housed people fleeing war in Ukraine,and the company building the LNG export facility says it has since undergone an “extensive refit” to its environmental systems and its living, dining and recreation areas.

Christine Kennedy, president of Woodfibre LNG, says it has always been a priority to ensure the facility’s construction “has as little impact on Squamish as possible.”

The statement says floating accommodations alleviate concerns about the impacts of temporary workers on local housing and community services as well as the potential for environmental harms associated with “standard” work camps.

The ship is equipped with sewage and water treatment systems as well as industrial-sized heat pumps, and it will connect to the BC Hydro electricity grid.

The treated sewage will be shipped to waste management facilities in B.C.,  the statement says.

The MV Isabelle will be moored at the Woodfibre project site, so those living on board can walk to work, the statement adds.

The “floatel” includes catered dining areas, laundry rooms, a first aid clinic and a games room, in addition to the “state-of-the-art” fitness facility, it says.

Bridgemans will have a crew on board at all times to inspect the ship and ensure fire, water and other safety systems meet Canadian regulations, it says.

Workers are expected to start occupying the ship this spring.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 5, 2024.

The Canadian Press

News from © The Canadian Press, 2023. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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