A fourth Island Class ferry built for Canadian operator BC Ferries has set off from Damen Shipyards in Galati, Romania, on a transatlantic journey to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
The unnamed ship is expected to complete the trip in 60 days under its own power. Two stops have been scheduled for refueling during the 10,700 nautical mile journey, one before and one after the Panama Canal. The ship will then make its way along the west coast of North America before arriving at its destination at the Point Hope Maritime shipyard in Victoria.
BC Ferries’ first two Island Class vessels were transported from Romania to British Columbia on a semi-submersible vessel in 2019 before entering service on the Powell River-Texada Island route and the Port McNeill-Alert Bay-Sointula Island route in mid-2020. A third Island Class ferry began the same transatlantic voyage in May and is currently northwest of Cape Verde.
The hybrid diesel-electric ferries will support the company’s Clean Futures Plan, which aims to make BC Ferries more efficient and environmentally responsible.
“These hybrid electric ships are designed for future full electric operation,” commented Captain Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ vice president of shipbuilding and innovation. “The vessels are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding become available.”
Following the installation of electric charging infrastructure at terminals, BC Ferries will operate the new ships as 100% battery-electric ferries that use clean and renewable hydroelectric energy. The Island Class ferries can carry 47 vehicles and 400 passengers and crew, and will enable the retirement of the company’s existing, less environmentally friendly diesel-fueled vessels.
BC Ferries will officially take ownership upon completion of a final inspection when the vessel arrives at Point Hope Maritime. The new ferry will join the third Island Class vessel to provide a two-ship service on the Campbell River-Quadra Island route, beginning in 2022.