Following the departure of Canada-based BC Ferries’ third Island Class ship in May, a fourth Island Class ferry has begun the journey from Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania to Victoria, B.C.
Depending on weather, it will take approximately 60 days for the yet-to-be named ship to make the transatlantic voyage under its own power. The approximately 10,700 nautical mile journey will include two stops for refuelling, before and after transiting the Panama Canal. The vessel will then sail up the west coast of North America, arriving at Point Hope Maritime in Victoria, B.C. The first two Island Class ferries transited from Romania to British Columbia on a semi-submersible vessel in 2019, entering service on the Powell River – Texada Island route and the Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula Island route in mid-2020. The third Island Class ferry began its transatlantic voyage from Romania to British Columbia in May and is currently mid-Atlantic, northwest of the Cape Verde Islands.
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. “These hybrid-electric ships are designed for future full electric operation. The vessels are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding become available,” said Captain Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ Vice President, Shipbuilding & Innovation.
Once electric charging technology can be installed at BC Ferries’ terminals, these new ships will operate as all battery-electric ferries, using clean renewable hydroelectric energy. Island Class ferries have the capacity to carry at least 47 vehicles and up to 400 passengers and crew and allow for fleet redeployments and retirements of existing diesel-fuelled vessels.