Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

9 5 Island Aurora, which began operating in June 2020, is the second of a series of hybrid-electric ships designed for future full electric operation Sustainability and environmental responsibility are core values at BC Ferries, according to Storey. “Our capital plan includes building new vessels and committing to fully electrifying our hybrid-powered Island Class vessels once shore charging infrastructure is in place. In addition to the four Salish Class vessels, we also converted our two Spirit Class vessels to operate on LNG several years ago. There are plans to upgrade and modify existing vessels to improve their carbon footprints, expand the use of renewable carbon-neutral fuels, improve our fleet maintenance unit, upgrade our terminals and renew our information technology systems. BC Ferries has also been working to reduce its overall contribution of underwater radiated noise by 50 per cent and was one the first ferry operators to develop a Vessel Operation In The Presence Of Marine Mammals policy (in 2016), and an underwater radiated noise management plan (in 2019). “BC Ferries co-developed (with Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and Ocean Wise) a tutorial to educate mariners on Safe Navigation in the Presence of Whales (2019) and our bridge teams voluntarily report all sightings of whales to the BC Cetaceans Sightings Network. We were recognised as a ‘top reporter’ in 2019,” says Storey. “Since 2014, BC Ferries has also been part of Green Marine, which is a voluntary environmental certification programme for the marine transportation industry. Green Marine aims to reduce the environmental footprint of marine operators by promoting a culture of continuous improvement and going above and beyond regulatory standards.” CFR “ These ships run quieter and cleaner than diesel-powered vessels”