The third of BC Ferries’ six new Island Class ferries began its transatlantic voyage from Romania to Victoria in the early hours of May 19, local time.
The as-of-yet unnamed vessel will sail over approximately two months to reach B.C. waters, according to a news release from BC Ferries. The 10,7000 nautical mile journey includes two scheduled stops; the first in the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco after leaving the Mediterranean Sea and the second in Panama after crossing the canal into the pacific.
“The biggest challenge in making such a journey is the weather. The crew is highly trained to forecast and safely sail in a variety of weather conditions,” said BC Ferries manager of corporate communications Astrid Chang. “If weather conditions change and are not favourable, the crew has the ability to alter course or delay part of the journey.”
The ferry is the last of the three to leave Europe, its the first setting sail on its own power. The previous two delivered to Victoria in 2019 arrived on a single heavy-lift vessel. Delivering ferries on their own power allows for a faster departure and staggered arrival according to BC Ferries, both of which are more manageable for operations.”
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The incoming ferry will be one of two Island Class ferries servicing the Campbell River – Quadra Island route, expected in 2022. Both replace the larger-class all-diesel ferry currently serving that route. This will provide passengers with increased capacity per hour and more frequent service while reducing vehicle line-ups on local roads, Chang said.
Island class ferries can carry at least 47 vehicles and 400 passengers and crew. They’re hybrid diesel-electric vessels meant to support the BC Ferries’ Clean Energy Futures Plan. “Once electric charging technology can be installed at BC Ferries’ terminals, these new ships will be configured to operate as all battery-electric ferries, using clean renewable hydroelectric energy,” said Captain Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ Vice President, Shipbuilding & Innovation. There’s no confirmed date for the installation of that electric charging technology, Chang said.
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