The third vessel of BC Ferries’ new fleet of Island Class hybrid electric-battery ship is slated to arrive in Summer 2021.
The ferry corporation made the announcement last week, when the vessel entered the water for the first time at Damen Shipyard in Romania.
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The finishing touches will be made on the vessel over the next months, ahead of its sea trials scheduled to begin in February. After the completion of successful sea trials, the vessel will be shipped to Victoria for final work before it enters service.
This Island Class vessel, which has yet to be named, will begin service on the Campbell River-Quadra Island route in 2022. A fourth vessel will also be added to this route in 2022, replacing the existing Powell River Queen with a two-ship operation.
According to BC Ferries, the replacement of the existing larger ship with two smaller vessels offers more frequency, increased capacity (from 59 to 94 vehicles per hour), reduced vehicle line-ups, and improved safety and road congestion. With increased frequency, there is a reduced need to expand the footprint of the terminal’s holding lots for vehicles before boarding.
These ferries are part of the ferry corporation’s $200 million additional order four more Island Class ferries, adding to the first two vessels that arrived early this year and have since entered service. The first vessels, Island Discovery and Island Aurora, serve the Texada Island-Powell River and Fort McNeill-Alert Bay-Sointula Island routes, respectively.
Altogether, by the end of next year, BC Ferries will have a total of six Island Class ships, with the fifth and sixth ships to be used on the Nanaimo Harbour-Gabriola Island route. Each of these four additional vessels are in various stages of construction at the European shipyard.
The Island Class vessels have the capability to be 100% battery powered, when electric charging technology at the terminals matures. In the meantime, these ships will use an onboard low sulphur diesel hybrid system.
Each vessel has the capacity to carry at least 47 vehicles and up to 400 passengers and crew.