Spirit of British Columbia prepares for mid-life upgrade

Spirit of British Columbia prepares for mid-life upgrade
Remontowa shipyard to convert BC Ferries’ vessel to dual-fuel (Image: BC Ferries)

BC Ferries’ Spirit of British Columbia is to leave Canada for Poland’s Remontowa shipyard ahead of her mid-life upgrade and conversion to an LNG passenger ferry, which will take place between the end of autumn 2017 and spring 2018.

While at Remontowa, Spirit of British Columbia will be converted into a dual-fuel ferry so she can operate on LNG or ultra-low sulphur marine diesel to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. At the same time, the vessel will also have her passenger areas updated with new carpets, refurbished washrooms, an expanded gift shop and an additional washroom on Deck 5, as well as a new coffee bar on Deck 6. Other planned upgrades include renewing the navigation equipment, propulsion equipment components, and the systems in the passenger elevators, as well as adding LED lighting and more efficient air conditioning equipment to reduce energy consumption.

Spirit of British Columbia will be the first of BC Ferries’ Spirit-Class vessels to undergo an upgrade; sister ship Spirit of Vancouver Island will be converted between autumn 2018 and spring 2019. This schedule will allow for these two vessels, the largest in the fleet, to be back in operation during the summer months when traffic is at its highest. BC Ferries plans to operate these two vessels for another 25 years. Both ships service the Metro Vancouver – Victoria (Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay) run, which is the busiest route in the fleet.

“Last financial year, we spent approximately CA$100 million on diesel fuel of which the two Spirit Class vessels consumed approximately 15%,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ vice president of engineering. “LNG costs significantly less than marine diesel. The conversion of the two largest ships in the fleet along with the three new dual-fuel Salish Class vessels that all entered service this year will go a long way to help both our environmental footprint and with fare affordability for our customers.”

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