Two new BC Ferries hybrid-electric ships arrived in Victoria Saturday morning.
The Island Class vessels are battery-operated, but also have hybrid technology built in to operate them until more charging infrastructure and funding becomes available.
The ships were welcomed to their new home just after sunrise Saturday morning as they arrived at the Breakwater District at Ogden Point. They left Romania on Nov. 20 on a semi-submersible transport vessel. They even passed through the Panama Canal on their journey to Victoria.
“It’s an exciting day for BC Ferries and coastal B.C. communities as we welcome these ships to their new home,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ president and CEO in a statement. “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.”
After landing at Ogden Point, the ships were taken to Point Hope Maritime in downtown Victoria for final inspections. BC Ferries then took ownership of them, christened them and will begin training crews.
The vessels are set to operate on the Powell River - Texada Island and Port McNeill - Alert Bay routes by mid-2020.
BC Ferries has plans to add four more hybrid-electric ships to its fleet. In November, it was announced that a contract was awarded to Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards Group to build four more battery hybrid-electric Island Class vessels that are scheduled to go into service in 2022.
“Our Clean Futures Plan spells out our strategy to reduce GHG emissions by replacing our legacy carbon-intensive fossil-fuelled vessels with ships using clean energy,” said Capt. Jamie Marshall, vice president of business development and innovation with BC Ferries, in a November statement. “These next four Island Class ships are a major step in our plan to progressively lower emissions across the fleet.”