The fourth liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuelled Salish Class vessel on BC Ferries’ fleet entered water just before Christmas at the Remontowa shipyard facility in Poland.
The unnamed vessel is still in the process of being constructed, and it is not expected to be ready to commence sea trials off the coast of Europe until late 2021.
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BC Ferries announced the vessel order at a cost of $92 million in January 2020. After its successful sea trials, the vessel will be transported to BC in early 2022 for final preparations to enter service.
The new 107-metre-long vessel will be used to serve the Southern Gulf Islands in 2022, and allow for the retirement of the 1965-built Mayne Queen. It will have the capacity to carry at least 138 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew.
Onboard passenger amenities include a cafe, retail store, children’s play area, and a passenger lounge.
This vessel is identical to the three Salish Class vessels built by the same shipyard about four years ago — a sister ship of the Salish Eagle, Salish Orca, and Salish Raven.
All four vessels are built with dual-fuel capability of running on ultra-low sulphur diesel or LNG, which is comparably significantly cleaner than traditional marine fuels and reduces operating costs.
Another shipyard in Romania is in the process of building four additional Island Class electric hybrid ferries for BC Ferries. All of these electric-battery capable vessels will enter service by 2022, growing the Island Class fleet to six vessels.