Two mid-and-north Island ferry routes are one step closer to getting new vessels, after the BC Ferries Commissioner approved the purchase of four new hybrid electric ferries.
The four new vessels will operate on the Nanaimo Harbour and Gabriola Island and Campbell River and Quadra Island routes, with each route getting two new ferries.
The ferries that currently operate on these routes will be redeployed to some smaller routes, resulting in those routes having increased capacities.
BC Ferries says the four new vessels will arrive by 2027, along with the corresponding electrical upgrades on shore for rapid charging at the four terminals.
“BC Ferries proposed these four new hybrid Island Class vessels because added capacity is critical to helping us get people where they need to go efficiently and reliably,” Nicolas Jimenez, president and CEO of BC Ferries said in a news release.
“As the Commissioner has noted in her decision, this project will deliver improved customer service, help lower our costs related to crewing and training, and contribute to safe and reliable service for passengers up and down the coast.”
Two of the replaced ferries will go to the Crofton and Vesuvius, which will see a 20 per cent increase in frequency, and the Quadra to Cortes route will get one vessel, resulting in a 70 per cent increase in capacity.
The remaining ferry will be deployed as a refit vessel, to continue with service when other vessels are taken out for repair or maintenance.
The current system relief vessel will be redeployed to the Denman to Hornby route year-round. Tachek (currently operating between Quadra and Cortes) and Quadra Queen II (currently serving as the relief vessel) will be retired.
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By 2027, four new vessels will enter service on routes connecting #NanaimoHarbour and #GabriolaIsland (two vessels) and #CampbellRiver and #QuadraIsland (two vessels), with electrical upgrades for shore-based rapid charging at all four terminals servicing these routes. (2/5)
— BC Ferries (@BCFerries) December 12, 2023
BC Ferries says these new hybrid electric vessels will reduce emissions by 10,000 tons of CO2.
“BC Ferries now continues through the procurement process, with negotiations to begin imminently,” the company says in a news release.
Funding for this will come from the Carbon Reduction Investment Account, which is money that BC Ferries has been setting aside since April 2022 to allow for investment in projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The total amount BC Ferries plans to spend on this project has been redacted in the commissioner’s report.