B.C. Ferries’ new hybrid electric vessels arrive at Ogden Point

> Link to B.C. Ferries video of new Island Class ferries arriving by heavy-load carrier at Victoria's Ogden Point on Saturday. 

B.C. Ferries’ two new Island Class hybrid-electric ferries arrived at Ogden Point Saturday morning for a five-day stop before moving to Point Hope Maritime.

The arrival of the Sun Rise heavy-load carrier, with the two ferries on board, concluded its 10,305-nautical-mile trip to deliver the new vessels after they were built by Damen Shipyards Group in Romania. Damen’s headquarters are in the Netherlands and it has operations around the globe.

The Sun Rise sailed out of Costanta, Romania, in late November, passing through the Panama Canal.

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“It’s an exciting day for B.C. Ferries and coastal B.C. communities as we welcome these ships to their new home,” said Mark Collins, B.C. Ferries’ president and chief executive.

“The anticipated arrival of these battery hybrid-electric ferries marks a major milestone in our plan to progressively lower emissions across our fleet and be a leader in transitioning to a lower carbon future.”

The ships will go into service on the Powell River-Texada Island and Port McNeill-Alert Bay-Sointula routes by mid-year.

The battery-equipped ferries have been designed for future full electric operation, B.C. Ferries said. Their hybrid technology bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding becomes available.

From the exterior details to the engines, the design of the new vessels reduces underwater radiated noise, lowers emissions and improves customer service, the corporation said.

The ships will spend five days at Ogden Point while preparations are made to unload and deliver them to locally owned Point Hope Maritime.

To do so, the semi-submersible transport ship will partially submerge and the two ferries will be floated off and manoeuvred by tugs to Point Hope.

Damen penned an agreement with Point Hope that will see the company provide technical and warranty support for the new vessels, meaning that repair and maintenance activities will be carried out in B.C.

Point Hope Maritime is re-commissioning the ships, required after the transport. This work includes starting up all of the systems and final inspections. B.C. Ferries will take ownership following this process.

They will be christened before B.C. Ferries moves on to crew training, ship familiarization and dock fits. Names have not been announced yet.

Riccardo Regosa, Point Hope Maritime general manager, said the service agreement with Damen has seen the local company improving its capabilities and developing new specialized jobs.

Four more similar vessels were ordered from Damen late last year under a $200-million contract that will bring them into service in 2022. Those four will serve the Campbell River-Quadra Island route and the Nanaimo Harbour-Gabriola Island route.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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