Get ready for a more eco-friendly ferry ride, B.C. According to a press release, B.C. Ferries is adding four vessels to go with their already purchased battery electric-hybrid ships. The B.C. Ferries hybrid vessels are set to be in service in the next two years and will be identical to the already two vessels that were completed for the company. 

According to a press release posted online by B.C. Ferries, the company is continuing to act on its Clean Futures Plan by commissioning Netherlands company Damen Shipyard Group to build two additional battery electric-hybrid Island Class vessels. These vessels are anticipated to hit the seas in 2022. 

Back in 2017, Damen was awarded the contract to build two “first in class” battery electric-hybrid vessels for B.C. Ferries. Both have completed successful trials at sea and are anticipated to arrive in Victoria by 2020, says B.C. Ferries. 

These vessels will be used on the Powell River – Texada Island route and the Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula Island route by mid-2020. They're described as some of the quietest and most efficient ships in the world.

“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 Captain Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ Vice President, Business Development & Innovation. 

“These next four Island Class ships are a major step in our plan to progressively lower emissions across the fleet and be a leader in the energy transition to a lower carbon future.”

These vessels are no ordinary ships, as they are completely battery-powered. 

B.C. Ferries has stated that when electric charging technology matures and electricity is available in the quantities needed, the company will operate these new ships as all-electric ferries, therefore using clean energy. 

The company is hopeful that these ships will help with its goal of being more environmentally conscious. 

Some of the new vessel highlights include battery-hybrid powered systems to reduce emissions, twin propellers designed to reduce underwater radiated noise, and low friction and biofouling resistant full coating to reduce fuel consumption. 

In order to acquire these four new ships, a contract was drawn up. The total project budget which includes financing and project management is $200 million CAD. 

The plan is to have the four new vessels being deployed on the Campbell River – Quadra Island route and the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route by 2022.

The goal is that by replacing one larger ship with two smaller vessels on each of these routes, customers will benefit from more frequent services. 

They also hope that it will increase passenger capacity per hour, reduce vehicle line-ups, improve safety, and reduce congestion on local roads. 

These new vessels will have the capacity to hold at least 47 vehicles and up to 450 passengers. 

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