Powell River Queen will be replaced by one of the new Island Class vessels (Image: BC Ferries)
Canadian operator BC Ferries plans to construct five new passenger ferries and has issued requests for expressions of interest for the shipbuilding contract to local, national and international shipyards (including consortiums).
BC Ferries has issued one contract for four 81-metre-long Island Class ferries, which will have capacity for 450 passengers and 47 vehicles. Like the two Island Class ferries that are already under construction at Damen’s Romania shipyard, the four newbuilds will be powered by electric hybrid propulsion systems. The first two are likely to be delivered in 2020, while the other two will be completed in 2021.
A second contract has been issued for a 107-metre-long, dual-fuel Salish Class vessel, which will accommodate 600 passengers and 138 vehicles when she is delivered in 2021. Her design will be identical to the three Salish Class ships – Salish Orca, Salish Raven and Salish Eagle – that entered service in 2017.
“These new vessels will help us move toward our ambition to be leaders in the transition to a
lower carbon future, and our standardisation and interoperability of the fleet,” said Mark Wilson,
BC Ferries’ vice president of Strategy and Community Engagement. “This improves
safety, environmental performance and resiliency, and reduces costs. The Island Class ships will be electric hybrid propulsion, including batteries, and the Salish Class will be fuelled with natural gas. These new clean-tech vessels will reduce our carbon emissions, helping the Province achieve its greenhouse gas reduction targets, and have the added benefit of reducing the amount of underwater radiated noise we produce.”
BC Ferries’ newbuilds will replace Bowen Queen, Mayne Queen and Powell River Queen, which are all 53 years old and ready for retirement. Replacing one older vessel with two new smaller Island Class vessels on the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route and the Campbell River – Quadra Island route will enable BC Ferries to carry 900 passengers and 94 vehicles per hour, rather than 400 people and 60 cars. In addition, it will enable the line to provide more frequent ferry services, improve safety and redeploy several other assets in the fleet.
The new Salish-class ferry is likely to join her sisters on the Southern Gulf Islands route.
BC Ferries expects to award the shipbuilding contracts by the end of 2018.
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