Engineers at Remontowa Shipbuilding in Poland cut the first piece of steel for one of BC Ferries three new intermediate class ferries (ICFs) last week.
Marking the start of the construction phase, the steel-cutting ceremony was attended by representatives from both BC Ferries and Remontowa.
Designed as the first dual-fuel vessels in BC Ferries’ fleet, the three ICFs will be able to operate on both LNG fuel or diesel fuel. By operating all three vessels on LNG fuel, BC Ferries aims to reduce carbon emissions by around 25%, sulphur oxides by almost 100% and nitrogen oxides by 85%.
“Today is an exciting day for BC Ferries as we officially commence the physical construction of the first ICF, which will replace the 50-year old Queen of Burnaby on the Comox – Powell River route,” said Mark Wilson, the line’s vice president of engineering. “We look forward to welcoming these new LNG ferries to our fleet, to help reduce both upward pressure on fares and our impact on the environment.”
Scheduled to arrive in August 2016, the first ICF will be quickly followed by a second ferry in October 2016, which will replace the 51-year old Queen of Nanaimo on the Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands route. The third ICF will arrive in February 2017 and will be used during peak seasons on the Southern Gulf Islands route, as well as to provide refit relief across the fleet.
Designed to have a service life of around 40 years, the three 107-metre ships will have a contract service speed of 15.5 knots and will each be able to accommodate 145 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew.