Hybrid ships
Photo by BC Ferries

In a big step for environmentally friendly transportation on the island, BC Ferries is one step closer to running fully electric ships. 

Two new Island Class vessels will arrive at Ogden Point in Victoria on the morning of Saturday, January 18th. 

Their docking will mark the completion of a 10,305 nautical mile voyage from Romania, where the ships were built.

Both vessels are designed for full electric operation in the future, but until shore charging infrastructure and funding becomes available in the province, the ferries will run on hybrid technology.

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

“It’s an exciting day for BC Ferries and coastal B.C. communities as we welcome these ships to their new home,” says Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President & CEO. 

“The anticipated arrival of these battery hybrid-electric ferries marks a major milestone in our plan to progressively lower emissions across our fleet and be a leader in transitioning to a lower carbon future.”

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

The ships will be at the Breakwater for five days, as preparations are made before they sail to Point Hope Maritime. 

There, the vessels will be re-commissioned — which includes starting up all of the systems and making final inspections — before they are christened and readied for use on their routes. 

More hybrid ships in the works

Four more hybrid-electric ships have been commissioned from the Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards Group, who built these two vessels. 

They are expected to be completed by 2022, when they will sail on the Campbell River – Quadra Island and Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island routes.

All six new vessels will have the capacity to carry at least 47 vehicles and up to 300 – 450 passengers and crew depending on configuration.

With files from Brishti Basu.