One of the hybrid ferries destined for the Gabriola Island route has been ‘launched’ at a shipyard in Europe and is scheduled to be delivered to Vancouver Island later this year.
B.C. Ferries aims to replace the MV Quinsam with two battery electric-hybrid ferries by 2022 and one of the Island-class ferries went into the water Feb. 18 at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania, noted a press release.
Work on the vessel will continue until June, when sea trials are scheduled,and following that it is expected to be delivered in late 2021 to Point Hope Maritime in Victoria for final preparations, the press release said.
While the two hybrid ferries are smaller than the MV Quinsam, it is expected they will provide higher capacity per hour as there will be increased service, said the press release. “Customers will also notice reduced vehicle lineups and congestion on local roads and improved safety, the press release said. “It also eliminates the need to consume more greenspace to increase the size of terminal holding compounds by moving more traffic through the same amount of space.”
The ferries can be upgraded for fully electric operation, B.C. Ferries previously told the News Bulletin. In late January, it solicited support from local governments for its “electrification program,” which, in part, seeks federal government money for upgrades to vessels and charging infrastructure.
The hybrid ferries can accommodate at least 47 vehicles, said the press release, with up to 400 passengers and crew.