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For Immediate Release
21-010
April 22, 2021

BC Ferries marks Earth Day with the launch of its sixth battery electric-hybrid vessel

New Island Class ferry will service the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route in 2022

VICTORIA – BC Ferries is marking Earth Day today with the launch of its sixth battery electric- hybrid Island Class ferry. The vessel entered the water early Wednesday morning at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania. The yet-to-be named ship is the last in a series of six Island Class vessels joining the BC Ferries fleet. When in operation, it will be one of two Island Class vessels assigned to the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route.

Work will continue on the new ship until scheduled sea trials in August. Following successful sea trials, the vessel will be delivered to Point Hope Maritime in Victoria in late 2021 for final preparations. Two-ship service is scheduled to begin on the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route in 2022, replacing the Quinsam.

“We are excited to reach this milestone in our Island Class project,” said Captain Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ Vice President, Shipbuilding and Innovation. “The launch of the sixth and final vessel in the series propels BC Ferries closer to reaching its goal to be efficient and environmentally responsible throughout the system.”

The Island Class is a hybrid diesel-electric ferry with a number of key features that support BC Ferries’ Clean 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. Island Class ferries have the capacity to carry at least 47 vehicles and up to 400 passengers and crew, and allow for fleet redeployments and retirements of existing diesel-fuelled vessels.

Replacing one larger ship with two smaller vessels on the route will provide customers with increased capacity per hour and more frequent service. Customers will also notice reduced vehicle line-ups and congestion on local roads, and improved safety. It eliminates the need to consume more greenspace to increase the size of terminal holding compounds by moving more traffic more frequently through the same amount of space.

BC Ferries deployed the first two Island Class vessels on the Powell River – Texada Island route and the Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula Island route in mid-2020. The third and fourth new ships will provide two-ship service on the Campbell River – Quadra Island route in 2022. The fifth Island Class ferry launched in February and, together with the sixth Island Class ferry, will provide two-ship service on the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route in 2022.

BC Ferries issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI) for the construction of the four latest vessels 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 18 international shipyards and short-listed nine shipyards to proceed to the Request for Proposal (RFP) stage. No Canadian companies submitted a bid.

Video of the launch is available here https://youtu.be/s_-FCqbXDbQ. More information on community events and naming ceremonies will be released as it becomes available. For more information on BC Ferries’ Clean Futures Plan or the Island Class project, please visit bcferries.com.

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Media Contact:
BC Ferries, Communications
Victoria: (250) 978-1267

Customer Contact:
Victoria: (250) 410-1465
Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)

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BC Ferries’ sixth Island Class vessel launches at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania.