The newest hybrid electric ships that will be added to the BC Ferries’ fleet have reached the Panama Canal and are preparing for their trip to B.C.
The corporation says it expects the first two Island Class vessels to arrive early in the new year.
After starting their voyage from Constanta, Romania Nov. 20, BC Ferries says the ships are currently preparing to clear the Panama Canal, which should take a few days because of other marine traffic, fuel bunkering and an inspection of the vessel.
The Island Class are battery equipped ships designed for fully electric operation.
BC Ferries says the ships are fitted with hybrid technology to bridge the gap until shore charging infrastructure becomes available.
The corporation says the vessel design reduces underwater noise, lowers emissions and improves customer service.
BC Ferries will take ownership of the ferries after their final inspection at Point Hope Maritime in Victoria.
Crew training will take place to familiarize staff with the ship and dock fits.
The Island Class will be put into service on the Powell River – Texada Island and Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula routes by mid-2020.
In November, BC Ferries announced it had awarded a contract for four Island Class ships.