BC Ferries has awarded a contract to Damen Shipyards Group to build four hybrid electric Island Class vessels that will add capacity across the system and help improve the travel experience for passengers.
The new ships will carry at least 47 vehicles and up to 390 passengers and crew and will have several features that support BC Ferries’ clean futures plan to be efficient and environmentally responsible throughout its fleet and operations. The company plans to operate these new vessels exclusively in battery-electric mode, using renewable BC Hydro electricity.
The four new vessels will enter service in Canada by 2027 on the routes connecting Nanaimo Harbor on Vancouver Island and Gabriola Island (two vessels) and Campbell River and Quadra Island (two vessels). Through a separate contract, BC Ferries will also initiate corresponding electrical upgrades for shore-based rapid charging at the four terminals on these routes, in time for ship delivery.
“The new hybrid electric vessels will further standardize our fleet, both increasing capacity and improving our flexibility to move ships across routes so our passengers can have confidence that we’ll get them where they need to go,” said Nicolas Jimenez, president and CEO of BC Ferries. “Adding more Island Class vessels will also make it easier to deploy crew, create efficiencies in training costs, and promote safe, reliable and environmentally conscious ferry services up and down the coast.”
Damen built BC Ferries’ previous six Island Class ferries. It is based in the Netherlands and will build the vessels in Romania. Its bid was selected from among several proposals received from around the world. No Canadian companies submitted a bid. This agreement with Damen is a design-build, fixed-priced contract that provides BC Ferries with guarantees related to delivery dates, performance criteria, cost certainty and quality construction.
“We are super excited and extremely pleased with the award of four more Island Class type vessels for BC Ferries,” said Leo Postma, area director of Damen Americas. “We have teamed up with the technical staff of BC Ferries now for seven years and together we developed a very efficient series of 10 ferries in total that meet all of the future requirements of safe, reliable and sustainable waterborne public transport.”
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