BC Ferries’ first two hybrid electric Island Class ferries are on their way to British Columbia. The ships departed Constanta, Romania on November 20, 2019, on a semi-submersible vessel for the 10,305 nautical mile journey to their new home in B.C. Damen Shipyards Group is responsible for the transport of the ships to B.C.
The Transatlantic voyage will take approximately 40 to 45 days, depending on weather. The journey will include one stop for refuelling before or after transiting the Panama Canal, and then sailing up the west coast of North America.
To load the ships, the semi-submersible transport partially submerges, which allows the two ferries to be gently floated into place. Once in position, the delivery vessel is refloated by pumping water out of its ballast tanks, the cargo secured and then
it’s ready for departure. On arrival in Canada, the semi-submersible delivery ship will be re-submerged to allow both vessels to float off. The vessels will be manoeuvered by tug to the berths at Point Hope Maritime of Victoria, B.C.
If customers want to follow along on the ships’ journey, they can track the progress including course, position and speed at vesselfinder.com. The delivery ship, named Sun Rise, is owned and operated by Pan Ocean.
The Island Class are battery equipped ships designed for full electric operation. The ships are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure becomes available. From the exterior details to the engines, the design of the new vessels reduces underwater radiated noise, lowers emissions and improves customer service.
BC Ferries will take ownership of the Island Class ferries upon final inspection at Point Hope Maritime. The ships will be christened before BC Ferries moves on to crew training, ship familiarization and dock fits. The ships will be deployed on the Powell River – Texada Island and Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula routes by mid-2020.