The Salish Orca, one of BC Ferries’ new Salish Class vessels, will begin its service Monday between Comox and Powell River. (Photo courtesy of Grant Warkentin)

Salish Orca ready to set sail in B.C. waters

One of the three new Salish class vessels from BC Ferries will begin operations May 15

BC Ferries’ newest vessel will begin service between Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast next week.

The Salish Orca arrived in provincial waters early this year and was initially supposed to start operations on the Comox-Powell River route in April, but delays pushed the start date back to May 15.

It’s one of three new Salish class vessels along with the Salish Eagle and Salish Raven, each named to honour the Coast Salish people, and features First Nations artwork by Stz’uminus artist John Marston. All three sister ships are capable of operating on either natural gas or diesel.

“We are very excited to introduce this beautiful new ship, Salish Orca, into service and see the duel-fuel technology at work,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “BC Ferries recognizes the service the Queen of Burnaby has provided millions of customers over her five decades. We look forward to the safe and reliable service Salish Orca will provide customers for years to come, as well as her additional environmental and cost-saving benefits.”

Each ferry will be able to accommodate approximately 145 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew.

The Salish Eagle will begin service on the Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands route in June, while the Salish Raven left the shipyards in Poland late last month. It will be put into service sometime this fall in the Southern Gulf Islands.