Fifth new Island-class ferry launched in Romania

The fifth of six new Island-class ferries has been launched at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania.

The hybrid diesel-electric ferry went into the water on Thursday. Additional work is required on the ship, which is scheduled to go through sea ­trials in June.

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This new vessel, which does not yet have a name, is set to be delivered to Point Hope Maritime in Vic West later this year, where it will go through final preparations before going into service.

It is expected to come into service by early next year as one of two Island-class vessels on the Nanaimo-Gabriola Island route. Those vessels will replace the larger Quinsam.

B.C. Ferries says replacing the Quinsam with two smaller vessels will increase capacity on the route and allow for more frequent service. Each Island Class ferry can carry at least 47 vehicles and up to 400 passengers and crew.

The sixth Island-class ferry is expected to be launched in spring.

B.C. Ferries hopes to see electric charging technology installed at its terminals in the future. When that happens — funding is not yet in place — the ships will be modified to rely on their batteries.

The first two Island Class vessels serve the Powell River-Texada Island route and the Port McNeill Alert Bay- Sointula Island route.

The third and fourth new are to serve the Campbell River-Quadra Island run starting in 2022.

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