Both of the new Gabriola Island hybrid ferries have now been launched at the shipyard in advance of entering into service next year.
B.C. Ferries, in a press release Thursday, April 22, said the second of the new Island-class vessels destined for the Nanaimo-Gabriola route was launched Wednesday at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania.
Work will continue to be done on the new ship leading up to sea trials this summer, and after that, the vessel will be expected to be delivered to Point Hope Maritime in Victoria by the end of 2021.
The Nanaimo-Gabriola route will have two-ship service as the hybrid ferries will replace the MV Quinsam.
“We are excited to reach this milestone in our Island-class project,” said Capt. Jamie Marshall, B.C. Ferries’ vice-president of ship-building and innovation. “The launch of the sixth and final vessel in the series propels B.C. Ferries closer to reaching its goal to be efficient and environmentally responsible throughout the system.”
The Island-class diesel-electric hybrids can be configured to operate as fully battery-electric-powered once charging technology is installed at terminals. Each ferry can carry at least 47 vehicles and up to 400 passengers and crew.
B.C. Ferries notes that the introduction of the Island-class ferries allows for fleet redeployments and retirements of existing diesel-fuelled vessels.
The first two Island-class vessels were deployed on the Powell River-Texada Island and Port McNeill-Alert Bay-Sointula routes last year, and the third and fourth vessels are destined for the Campbell River-Quadra Island route in 2022.
B.C. Ferries says no Canadian ship-building companies submitted a bid to build the four newest Island-class vessels.