BC Ferries' first new hybrid-electric vessels arrive from Europe (VIDEO)

Jan 19 2020, 3:15 am

The arrival of two new hybrid-electric ferry vessels Saturday morning at Ogden Point in Victoria heralded the beginning of a new era for BC Ferries.

In November 2019, these Island Class ships started their journey as precious cargo on the Sun Rise — a large semi-submersible transport vessel — from Damen Shipyards Group’s facility in Constanta, Romania.

Both vessels will initially operate on low-sulphur diesel with their hybrid systems, but they have the battery capability for full electric operation in the future, when shore charging technology matures and the capital funding for the installation of such terminal charging infrastructure becomes available.

“It’s an exciting day for BC Ferries and coastal BC communities as we welcome these ships to their new home,” said Mark Collins, president and CEO of BC Ferries, in a statement, adding that “these battery hybrid-electric ferries marks a major milestone in our plan to progressively lower emissions across our fleet and be a leader in transitioning to a lower carbon future.”

According to a release, the ships are scheduled to remain at Ogden Point for a few days while preparations are made to unload and deliver them to another facility in Victoria, operated by Point Hope Maritime.

The BC shipyard has an agreement with the European shipyard to provide technical and warranty support for the new vessels, including ongoing maintenance and repair.

bc ferries island class ships january 2020 victoria hybrid electric

BC Ferries’ first new Island Class hybrid-electric vessels arrived in Victoria on January 18, 2020. (BC Ferries)

bc ferries island class hybrid electric

BC Ferries’ first two Island Class hybrid-electric vessels loaded onto the Sun Rise for delivery from Romania to BC on November 20, 2019. (BC Ferries)

The semi-submersible transport ship will partially submerge, allowing the two ferries to be floated off and maneuvered by tug boats. Point Hope Maritime will perform final commissioning, before BC Ferries christens the vessels and begins crew training, ship familiarization, and dock fits.

By the middle of this year, the new vessels will enter service on the route from Powell River to Texada Island and the route between Port McNeill, Alert Bay, and Sointula.

The design of the new Island Class ships reduces underwater radiated noise, lowers emissions, and improves the onboard experience for passengers.

bc ferries island class ships january 2020 victoria hybrid electric

BC Ferries’ first new Island Class hybrid-electric vessels arrived in Victoria on January 18, 2020. (BC Ferries)

Artistic rendering of BC Ferries’ new Island Class vessel. (BC Ferries)

Each vessel carries a capacity of at least 47 vehicles and between 300 and 450 passengers and crew, depending on configuration.

In November 2019, BC Ferries made an additional order of four Island Class hybrid-electric ferries from Damen Shipyards Group in a deal worth $200 million.

Arriving in 2022, the vessels in this second batch will serve the routes from Campbell River to Quadra Island and from Nanaimo Harbour to Gabriola Island. This deployment effectively replaces one larger ship with two smaller vessels on each of these routes, providing more frequent service and increased passenger capacity per hour. It will result in shorter vehicle queues, improved safety, and reduced road congestion.

BC Ferries Island Class

Artistic rendering of BC Ferries’ Island Class vessels. (BC Ferries)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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