Two new BC Ferries hybrid-electric vessels are now at Point Hope Maritime in Victoria.
On Friday morning, the two new Island Class ferries were released into the water from the semi-submersible transport ship, Sun Rise, that brought them to the Breakwater District at Ogden Point from Europe.
Tugs were moving the two ferries to Point Hope in the Upper Harbour, going under the Johnson Street Bridge. At Point Hope, the systems on the vessels will be started and final inspections will be done. BC Ferries will then take ownership of the vessels.
Karyn Lehmann brought her binoculars to the Esquimalt Lagoon Friday morning to watch the new ferries leave the Sun Rise.
“This morning, very early, my neighbour phoned, lives just up here and she said guess what’s out in the harbour, I think they’re floating those ferries today, so I threw on my boots and my jacket and hiked down to have a look,” Lehmann said.
The vessels left Constanta, Romania on Nov. 20.
“It steamed halfway around the world, more than 10,000 miles, took about 50 days to do so. the benefit of course is our ship is not in the water for that journey and arrives here in practically new condition.” BC Ferries President and CEO Mark Collins said.
The Island Class ferries are battery-powered ferries that will be used for full-electric operation in the future once new infrastructure and funding become available in the province. The vessels will use a sulphur diesel hybrid system in the interim.
“These are electric hybrid ships so they’re kind of like a Toyota Prius on the water, so they’ve got an engine on board that keeps the batteries charged and then the batteries turn the electric motor which turns the propellers,” Collins said.
“So we have what we call our clean futures plan at BC Ferries. We’re very conscious of our carbon emissions and we know we need to get those carbon emissions down in the long term.”
The new Island Class will carry 47 vehicles, along with 300 to 450 passengers and crew depending on the configuration. The ferries are dobule-ended with vehicle lanes, pedestrian paths and bicycle parking spaces.
By mid-2020, two Island Class ferries will service:
- Powell River – Texada (1 ferry)
- Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula (1 ferry)
Then by 2022, four Island Class ferries will service:
- Campbell River – Quadra Island (2 ferries)
- Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island (2 ferries)