(BC Ferries)

Two hybrid electric vessels are travelling to Victoria for use as BC Ferries’ first Island Class ships.

The vessels left their original port in Constanta, Romania on Wednesday and will travel 10,305 nautical miles on a semi-submersible vessel to reach Victoria.

To load the two ships, the transport vessel partially submerges under water, allowing the new BC Ferries ships to be gently floated and secured into place.

See also: BC Ferries will add four new hybrid electric vessels to their fleet by 2022

When they reach Victoria, the cargo vessel will be re-submerged to allow the ships to float off and be maneuvered by tugs into their berths at Point Hope Maritime on Harbour Road.

Their journey will take around 40 to 45 days including one stop for refuelling before or after transiting the Panama Canal, and then sailing up the west coast of North America.

Island Class vessels are battery-powered, and for the time being, will be operated using an on board low sulphur diesel hybrid system.

However BC Ferries plans to operate these ships using all-electric ferries in the future, once electric charging technology matures to make electricity available in the quantities required for ships.

The first two ships will be deployed on the Powell River – Texada Island and Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula routes by mid-2020.

Earlier this month, BC Ferries announced the addition of four additional battery electric-hybrid Island Class vessels to their fleet by 2022.

Once these are ready, two of them will operate on the Campbell River – Quadra Island route, while the remaining will serve the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route.