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Newest Island-class ferry will be called Island Gwawis, ‘raven of the sea’

Vessel will service Nanaimo-Gabriola Island route
Peter Simpson, BC Ferries director of fleet operations and strategy; Cathi Charles Wherry, special advisor, First Peoples’ Cultural Council; and Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ president and CEO, attend a ceremony announcing the name of the sixth Island-class ferry. (Photo submitted)

BC Ferries is getting ready to start two-ship service between Nanaimo and Gabriola Island, and now both new ferries on the route have names.

The ferry company, at a ceremony in Victoria on Tuesday, Jan. 11, announced that the sixth Island-class vessel will be named the Island Gwawis, which means ‘raven of the sea.’

BC Ferries says the name was chosen with input and support of the ’Namgis First Nation.

“This ship is as much about the relationships we are building as the service it provides,” said Mark Collins, president and CEO of BC Ferries, in the release. “Together we have delivered six innovative hybrid-electric ferries under the challenges of a global pandemic. Island Gwawis will help move us towards being one of the most sustainable companies in the world while connecting communities along the way.”

The other Nanaimo-Gabriola ferry was named Island Kwigwis, meaning ‘eagle of the sea,’ at a ceremony a few weeks ago.

Island-class ferries can carry 47 vehicles and up to 450 passengers and crew. They are battery-equipped, and will capable of full electric operation in the future once “shore charging infrastructure and funding becomes available,” said BC Ferries.

The ferries will enter into service on the Nanaimo-Gabriola route this year.

READ ALSO: Island Kwigwis, ‘eagle of the sea,’ to begin Nanaimo-Gabriola service in the new year

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About the Author: Nanaimo Bulletin News Staff

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