Fourth and final Salish Class vessel transits Panama Canal: BC Ferries

Fourth and final Salish Class vessel transits Panama Canal: BC Ferries
Salish Raven with artwork designed by Thomas Cannell from Musqueam

The last of the Salish Class series is in the final stretch of its journey en route to British Columbia, according to BC Ferries.

The ferry company says that the Salish Heron — the fourth and final Salish Class vessel — transited the Panama Canal over the weekend after beginning its journey on December 22, 2021, from Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk, Poland.

The vessel is now sailing on the last leg of its journey, travelling up the Pacific Coast of North America, headed for Ogden Point in Victoria.

When the ship arrives on the shores of Vancouver Island, it will have travelled more than 10,000 nautical miles while having spent nearly two months sailing across the Atlantic and up the Pacific Coast.

Upon its arrival in Victoria, the vessel will undergo an inspection before moving to Fleet Maintenance Unit in Richmond where BC Ferries will officially take ownership.

BC Ferries says that’s where final preparations will be made to introduce Salish Heron into service, including the application of the exterior artwork designed by Coast Salish artist Maynard Johnny Jr.

The Salish Heron will be the fourth of its class deployed into service by BC Ferries, with the vessel be identical to the other three.

The ship operates on liquefied natural gas, a cleaner fuel than diesel, and can carry up to 138 vehicles and up to 600 passengers.

“The hull design creates a very small wake and the electric propulsion and structural design ensure a quiet ride,” says BC Ferries when describing the Salish Class vessel design.

BC Ferries adds that the Indigenous artwork on each Salish Class vessel is an acknowledgement of the Coast Salish sailors as original navigators of these coastal waters.

The Salish Eagle, the Salish Raven and the Salish Orca all entered service in 2017.


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