Tuesday, December 29, 2020

New series of BC Ferries under construction at European shipyards

One of the new Salish Class BC Ferries under 
construction at a shipyard in Gdansk, Poland

(photo from BC Ferries)

The ongoing fleet replacement program for BC Ferries is taking another step with the start of 2021, with the Ferry Corporation providing an update on two new ferries currently under construction at a pair of Shipyards in Europe.

An information release from December 22nd highlighted the background for the fourth Salish Class vessel which launched at the Remontowa Shipbuilding facility in Gdansk, Poland.

The LNG Fuelled vessel will see construction continue towards scheduled sea trials sometime late in 2021.

The 107-metre Salish Class vessel will have the capacity to carry at least 138 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew, and is built as dual-fuel, capable of running on LNG or ultra-low sulphur diesel. Using primarily LNG to fuel the new ship will result in reduced emissions and reduced costs for BC Ferries. When the ship enters service, it will allow for the retirement of the Mayne Queen, a diesel-fuelled vessel.

Learn more about that vessel here

The video below provides a glimpse into the early stages of the ships construction. It was released on December 22nd.

Earlier this month BC Ferries also updated the progress of their Island Class Ferry project, with the fourth vessel in that program launching at the Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania.

As BC Ferries notes, work will continue on the new ship until scheduled sea trials in April. Following successful sea trials, the vessel will make its way to Point Hope Maritime in Victoria in fall 2021 for final preparations. The yet-to-be named ship is the fourth in a series of six Island Class vessels joining the BC Ferries fleet, and the second assigned to the Campbell River – Quadra Island (Quathiaski Cove) route. Two-ship service is scheduled to begin on the route in 2022, replacing the existing Powell River Queen. 

The Island Class is a battery-powered ferry with a number of key features that support BC Ferries’ Clean Futures Plan and the company’s goal to be efficient and environmentally responsible throughout its system. When electric charging technology matures to make electricity available in the quantities required, BC Ferries will operate these new ships as all-electric ferries, using clean energy. In the interim, these ships will use an on board low sulphur diesel hybrid system. Island Class ferries have the capacity to carry at least 47 vehicles and up to 400 passengers and crew depending on configuration, and allow for fleet redeployments and retirements of existing diesel fuelled vessels. 

The first two vessels have been put into service on the Powell River Texada Island route and one serving Port McNeil-Alert Bay-Sointula. 

The current work will see vessels in place for the Campbell River-Quadra Island route.

The final two ships are destined for service on the Nanaimo Harbour-Gabriola Island route in 2022.

Further background on the vessel can be reviewed here.

The video below provides a glimpse into the early stages of the ships construction. It was released on December 17th.

There has been some criticism of BC Ferries in using European shipbuilders to construct a vessel destined for Canadian waters, though as they observe in their updates of this month, at the time of putting out the Request of Expressions of Interest, no Canadian companies submitted a bid.

BC Ferries issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI) for the construction of the vessel to leading shipyards in Canada and around the world in July 2018. Canadian shipyards were invited to participate in the competitive bidding process. BC Ferries received responses from 16 international shipyards and short-listed three shipyards to proceed to the Request for Proposal (RFP) stage. No Canadian companies submitted a bid.

You can find more notes on BC Ferries from our archive page here.

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