(Image / BC Ferries Twitter)

BC Ferries’ decision to switch one of their largest ferries from diesel fuel to liquified natural gas (LNG) propulsion is garnering international attention, and has recently earned the company the European-based Shippax Retrofit Award.

The Shippax Retrofit Award was created to recognize new concepts and innovations within the ferry, cruise, and shipping industry, and the Spirit of British Columbia green vessel is being celebrated for its efforts in the field.

The use of LNG on two of BC Ferries’ largest passenger vessels is expected to reduce the company’s CO2 emission by 12,500 tonnes annually, which is roughly the equivalent of removing 2,500 vehicles off of BC’s roads per year.

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The Spirit of British Columbia is just the first of two Spirit Class vessels that have been converted to LNG, with the Spirit of Vancouver Island completing its retrofit several weeks ago. The ship is expected to return to service between Swartz Bay and Tswwassen later this spring.

The retrofit involves replacing the ship’s four main engines with new dual-fuel engines, and the installation of a large LNG tank beneath the main deck as part of a new innovative fuel bunkering system.

In 2017, BC Ferries’ smaller line of Salish Class vessels were the first passenger vessels in the world to refuel LNG on an open vehicle deck using proprietary Canadian tanker truck technology.

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