Fourth Island-class ferry on its way to new home in B.C.

The new Island-class ferry is on its way to Victoria, crossing the Atlantic Ocean to the Panama Canal before arriving at Point Hope Maritime.

Another new Island-class ferry, also built by Damen Shipyards Galati’s shipyard in Romania, departed for B.C. in late May. As of Wednesday, it was in the mid-Atlantic Ocean northwest of the Cape Verde Islands.

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Damen is building six Island-class vessels for B.C. Ferries. Two are already in service. A fifth was launched in February and is now going through additional work prior to its trip across the Atlantic.

All Island-class ferries will be maintained by locally owned Point Hope Maritime on Harbour Road in Victoria.

B.C. Ferries will take ownership of the newest vessels after they go through their final inspections at Point Hope.

Each hybrid diesel-electric vessel will be covering 10,700 nautical miles in approximately 60 days.

Capt. Jamie Marshall, B.C. Ferries’ vice-president of shipbuilding and innovation, said the hybrid-electric ships are designed to operate as electric-only in the future. “The vessels are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding become available.”

The two newest ferries will run on the Campbell River-Quadra Island route starting next year.

They have not yet been named. The first two were named Island Discovery and Island Aurora in an early 2020 ceremony.

Island-class ferries can carry at least 47 vehicles and up to 400 passengers and crew. They will also be used for fleet redeployments and allow old diesel-fuelled vessels to be retired.

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