BC Ferries’ final Island Class vessel departs Romania on transatlantic voyage

BC Ferries' final Island Class vessel departs Romania on transatlantic voyage

The sixth and final Island Class ferry to join the BC Ferries fleet is now en route to British Columbia, having departed shipyards in Romania on the morning of October 11.

The ferry has headed out to make the transatlantic voyage under its own power and is scheduled to arrive on Vancouver Island in approximately 60 days.

The journey is approximately 10,700 nautical miles total, across the Atlantic Ocean, through the Panama Canal and up the Pacific Coast of North America arriving at Point Hope Maritime in Victoria, B.C. later this year.

The yet-to-be-named ferry will be the final in a series of six Island Class ferries. Like the three Island Class ferries that came before it, approximately one-third of Island 6’s journey is expected to be completed by using battery power with the main engines stopped; proof that the Island Class ferries will be able to operate as fully electric vessels once BC Ferries’ terminals have plug-in recharging capabilities. The batteries will be charged during the voyage by a diesel generator.

According to BC Ferries, sailing the vessels under their own power allows the ships to begin the journey once construction is complete and creates a staggered arrival time, which is more manageable for operations.

As part of the contract, Damen Shipyards is responsible for the safe delivery of the vessels to Victoria and is employing an international professional ship-move company to assist.

The Island Class is a hybrid diesel-electric ferry with a number of key features that support BC Ferries’ Clean Futures Plan and the company’s goal to be efficient and environmentally responsible throughout its system, according to BC Ferries.

The six Island Class vessels are designed for future full electric operation and are fitted with hybrid technology to bridge the gap until shore charging infrastructure can be installed.

“It is exciting to reach this milestone in our Island Class project,” said Captain Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ Vice President, Shipbuilding & Innovation. “As these new ferries come into service, we are realizing important environmental and sustainability benefits. Electric propulsion is quieter, smoother and more efficient compared to the traditional diesel propulsion of the vessels the Island Class will be replacing, and these ships will improve customer service by adding more capacity and frequency of service. We’re proud of the steps BC Ferries is taking to improve the ferry system in coastal British Columbia.”

Island Class ferries have the capacity to carry at least 47 vehicles and up to 400 passengers and crew and will allow the company to organize fleet redeployments and the retirement of existing diesel-fuelled vessels.

The arrival of this new vessel will allow for the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route to be serviced by two Island Class vessels starting in 2022.
BC Ferries looks forward to officially unveiling the name of the new vessel and welcoming the ship into service next year.

Video of the departure can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/-gLn_3JchkE.


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