BC Ferries (British Columbia Ferry Services), the Canadian ferry owner and operator, has ordered additional electric-battery hybrid vessels from Damen Shipyards Group.
The Dutch shipyard was awarded the contract to build the four Island Class vessels at a cost of US$200m, including financing and project management.
“These next four Island Class ships are a major step in our plan to progressively lower emissions across the fleet and be a leader in the energy transition to a lower carbon future,” said Capt. Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ vice president, business development and innovation. “Our Clean Futures Plan spells out our strategy to reduce GHG emissions by replacing our legacy carbon-intensive fossil-fueled vessels with ships using clean energy.”
The Island Class is a battery-powered ferry and it is BC Ferries’ intention to operate these new ships as all-electric ferries when electric charging technology matures to make electricity available in the quantities required. Until then, the ships will use an onboard, low-sulfur diesel hybrid system.
The first two Island Class vessels will be deployed on the Powell River – Texada Island route; and the Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula Island route by mid-2020.
The third and fourth new vessels will service the Campbell River – Quadra Island route; and the fifth and sixth new ships will serve the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route, by 2022.
By replacing one larger ship with two smaller vessels on each of these routes, customers will receive more frequent service, increased passenger capacity per hour, reduced vehicle line-ups, improved safety, and reduced congestion on local roads. It also eliminates the need to consume more green space to increase the size of terminal holding compounds by moving more traffic through the same amount of space.