The latest hybrid Island-class ferry arrived in Victoria on Monday after sailing from Galati, Romania, and through the Panama Canal.
The ferry, the fifth Island-class vessel, is expected to serve the Nanaimo-Gabriola Island route starting next year.
At Point Hope Maritime on Harbour Road, final inspections will take place and B.C. Ferries will take ownership of the vessel. It will be followed by the sixth and final Island-class ferry in the series, also expected to serve the Gabriola Island route. The ferries were constructed at Damen Shipyards Group’s facility in Romania.
Island-class ferries were built to run on both battery power and diesel fuel. During its 59-day voyage, the newest ferry relied on battery power for about one-third of its trip and the main engines were stopped.
Batteries were charged by a diesel generator.
The goal is to run the ferries on batteries alone, but that requires on-shore infrastructure allowing ferries to plug into a power system, and the funding is not yet in place for the system.
The new vessels will replace retiring ferries as B.C. Ferries renews its fleet and pares down the number of types of ferries to five from 18.
The six Island-class ferries have cost B.C. Ferries about $300 million.