BC Ferries Christens New Hybrid-Electric Ship Duo

Canadian ferry operator BC Ferries has unveiled the names of its first two Island class ferries at a naming ceremony at Point Hope Maritime in Victoria.

Image Courtesy: BC Ferries

Island Discovery and Island Aurora, built by shipbuilder Damen, will enter service in mid-2020, serving the Powell River – Texada Island and Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula routes, respectively.

“Today’s ceremony marks a major milestone as we prepare to bring the new Island Class vessels into service. These ships will connect communities literally and figuratively, when they enter service later this year,”  Mark Collins, President & CEO, BC Ferries, commented.

On January 18, the two newbuilds arrived in BC waters. They departed Constanta, Romania, on a semi-submersible vessel in late November 2019.

Te first of the new vessels, Island Discovery, will be deployed on the Powell River – Texada Island route, replacing the 59-year old North Island Princess, which will be retired from the BC Ferries fleet.

The second vessel, Island Aurora, will replace Quadra Queen II on the Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula route. Quadra Queen II will become a relief vessel.

Island Class ferries have the capacity to carry 47 vehicles and between 300 and 450 passengers and crew, depending on configuration.

They are battery equipped ships designed for future full electric operation. The ships are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding becomes available in B.C.

From the exterior details to the engines, the design of the new vessels reduces underwater radiated noise, lowers emissions and improves customer service, according to the company.

Partial funding for these two vessels was provided by the Canadian government.