A fourth Island Class vessel that will be joining the BC Ferries’ fleet has departed a shipyards dock in Romania and set out on a transatlantic journey to Vancouver Island.
The ship, which is making the voyage under its own power, is estimated to take approximately 60 days to arrive in Victoria.
The approximately 10,700 nautical mile journey will include two stops for refuelling, before and after transiting the Panama Canal, before heading up the west coast of North America.
The new Island Class ferry, which has yet-to-be-named, is the second ship making the journey under its own power.
The first two ships — Island Discovery and Island Aurora — completed their transatlantic journey to Vancouver Island in January 2020 and made the voyage while being carried on a semi-submersible transport ship.
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.
“Once electric charging technology can be installed at BC Ferries’ terminals, these new ships will be configured to operate as all battery-electric ferries, using clean renewable hydroelectric energy,” said Captain Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ Vice President, Shipbuilding & Innovation.
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 ship that departed Romania today will head to Point Hope Maritime in Victoria before a final inspection will take place.
The vessel will be named, christened and deployed into service Campbell River – Quadra Island Route by 2022.