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For Immediate Release
20-007
February 19, 2020


BC Ferries names and christens the first two Island Class ferries

Island Discovery and Island Aurora will enter service mid-2020


VICTORIA – BC Ferries revealed the names of its first two Island Class ferries at a special naming ceremony at Victoria’s Point Hope Maritime. Island Discovery and Island Aurora are the newest vessels to enter the fleet and will enter service in mid-2020, serving the Powell River – Texada Island and Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula routes, respectively.

The names were selected with community input and celebrate the beauty of the journey and the important connection to the coastal communities the ferries will soon serve. Today’s ceremony began with a few words from BC Ferries and Damen Shipyards, followed by the unveiling of the ships’ names, and the christening of the hulls.

In keeping with maritime tradition, BC Ferries selected sponsors for each of the ships. These roles are important – each sponsor bestows the ship with good luck and protection for all those who travel on them. Each ship has a community sponsor and a sponsor from the BC Ferries family. In recognition of her achievement and long service with BC Ferries, Senior Business Analyst Sandy Leduc christened Island Discovery along with former Northern Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committee member Sandy McCormick from Texada Island. To christen Island Aurora, Alert Bay resident and Chair of the Tri-Island Ferry Advisory Committee, Melissa Fletcher joined North Island Catering Superintendent Sheila O’Neill, a long-time member of the BC Ferries family.

The first of the new vessels, Island Discovery, will be deployed on the Powell River – Texada Island route, replacing the 59-year old North Island Princess, which will be retired from the BC Ferries fleet. The second vessel, Island Aurora, will replace Quadra Queen II on the Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula route. Quadra Queen II will become a relief vessel.

Island Class ferries have the capacity to carry 47 vehicles and between 300 and 450 passengers and crew, depending on configuration. They are battery equipped ships designed for future full electric operation. The ships are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding becomes available in B.C. From the exterior details to the engines, the design of the new vessels reduces underwater radiated noise, lowers emissions and improves customer service. Partial funding for these two vessels was provided by the federal government through the Provincial – Territorial Infrastructure Component – National and Regional Projects.

BC Ferries looks forward to welcoming these ships into service in mid-2020. The company will hold events to celebrate the ferries’ introduction into service with both employees and the communities.

Quotes:

“Today’s ceremony marks a major milestone as we prepare to bring the new Island Class vessels into service. These ships will connect communities literally and figuratively, when they enter service later this year. We are grateful to have such upstanding members of the BC Ferries family and the vessels’ homeport communities bestow the ships with good luck and protection.”
Mark Collins, President & CEO, BC Ferries
 
“The new Island Class ships represent the direction the company is taking. The future of BC Ferries is innovative, leading edge, and ready to adapt to changing economic and social climates, without compromising safety, efficiency and reliability. Bringing these ships into service is a major step forward as BC Ferries focusses on providing world-class service to communities up and down coastal British Columbia.”
John Horning, Chair, Board of Directors, British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.

“We enjoy an excellent partnership with BC Ferries – one that cements the long-standing relationship that exists between the Netherlands and Canada. Working closely together, we have developed state-of-the-art vessels to provide an outstanding passenger experience.”
Jan-Wim Dekker, Chief Commercial Officer, Damen Shipyards Group

 
{media1}
Co-sponsors Sandy Leduc (BC Ferries, left) and Sandy McCormick (Texada Island, right) pulling a ribbon that smashes a bottle of champagne against the hull of Island Discovery to christen the vessel.

{media2}
Island Discovery co-sponsors Sandy McCormick (Texada Island, left) and Sandy Leduc (BC Ferries, second from left), along with Island Aurora co-sponsors Melissa Fletcher (Alert Bay, second from right) and Sheila O’Neill (BC Ferries, right) pose together after christening and naming of both vessels at Point Hope Maritime.

{media3}
The Island Aurora shortly after being unveiled at a naming ceremony held at Point Hope Maritime in Victoria on February 19, 2020.

{media4}
One of the two 400 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery banks on each Island Class vessel, supplied by Richmond-based Corvus Energy.
 
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Media Contact:
BC Ferries, Media Relations
Victoria: (250) 978-1267
Fax (250) 978-1119 www.bcferries.com/bcfnews
Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our emergency line at (250) 516-7211.

Customer Contact:
Victoria: (250) 386-3431
Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)