TransLink's new SeaBus vessel, blanketed by First Nations art, now in service (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Jul 22 2021, 4:03 pm

As of 3 pm today, the Burrard Chinook, TransLink’s brand new additional vessel for the SeaBus fleet, began its first sailing for regular service.

The maiden voyage across Burrard Inlet from Waterfront Station to Lonsdale was preceded by a celebratory event, with a pair of fire boats spraying arcs of water over the vessel as it arrived into downtown Vancouver.

While all SeaBus vessels are almost physically identical, the Burrard Chinook is visually distinguished by its unique exterior livery, boasting First Nations art work by local artists Kelly Cannell, Siobhan Joseph, and Angela George, who represent the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations, respectively.

The name of the vessel and art were selected and designed as a tribute to the Chinook salmon, one of the most iconic species in Pacific waters.

The exterior art design illustrates the lifecycle of the Chinook salmon, as well as the historical importance of this species of fish to BC’s ecosystem.

On board the vessel, passengers will find a plaque that explains the artists’ design inspiration.

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The new SeaBus Burrard Chinook vessel during its maiden voyage on July 22, 2021. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

burrard chinook seabus

The new Burrard Chinook arriving with a sister SeaBus vessel during its maiden voyage on July 22, 2021. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

“The SeaBus is an iconic part of Metro Vancouver’s transit system, providing a vital service that bridges the gap across the Burrard Inlet and connects the communities of our region,” said Kevin Quinn, TransLink’s new CEO.

Quinn, who was previously the head of the transit agency in Maryland in the Baltimore-Washington, DC, region, began his new role in Metro Vancouver this past Monday. The launch of the Burrard Chinook today was his first public appearance.

“TransLink proudly worked alongside members of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations to adorn the new Burrard Chinook SeaBus with artwork that honours local Indigenous history and culture. We look forward to future collaborations with First Nations as we continue our journey toward true and meaningful reconciliation,” continued Quinn.

Like the other vessels, the Burrard Chinook can hold 385 seated passengers.

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The new Burrard Chinook arriving with a sister SeaBus vessel during its maiden voyage on July 22, 2021. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

burrard chinook seabus

The new SeaBus Burrard Chinook vessel during its maiden voyage on July 22, 2021. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

The vessel was completed in a European shipyard in 2019, and was originally scheduled to begin service in the same year.

However, during local sea trials, it was discovered that modifications adding buoyancy would be required. The vessel’s modifications were made at a shipyard on Vancouver Island and it was set to begin operations in Summer 2020, but the manufacturing of the necessary parts in Singapore was delayed by the pandemic.

The cost of building the vessel and performing some upgrades to the terminals is $32 million, with the federal government covering 50%, the provincial government at 33%, and TransLink at 17%.

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The new Burrard Chinook arriving with a sister SeaBus vessel during its maiden voyage on July 22, 2021. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

burrard chinook seabus

The new SeaBus Burrard Chinook vessel during its maiden voyage on July 22, 2021. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

The use of Burrard Chinook replaces the use of an original SeaBus vessel currently used for regular service, the Burrard Beaver, which will now be used as a spare. It gives TransLink the ability to provide the eventual restart of 10-minute sailings without having to cancel sailings if there are unplanned maintenance or repairs required on one of the vessels.

The other SeaBus vessels are the 2009-built Burrard Pacific Breeze and the 2014-built Burrard Otter II. The first two vessels built in 1976 and the Burrard Pacific Breeze were made in BC shipyards, and the latter — easily distinguished by its large windows — was constructed in Singapore. The Burrard Otter, one of the first SeaBus vessels, has been retired.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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