Canadian ferry owner and operator BC Ferries has signed a shipbuilding contract for four more battery electric-hybrid Island Class vessels with the Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards Group.
The units, which are part of the company’s Clean Futures Plan, are scheduled to go into service in 2022.
The latest order comes on the back of a deal signed in the spring of 2017, when BC Ferries hired Damen to build two ‘first in class’ of these units, which have completed sea trials and will arrive in Victoria, B.C. by January 2020.
“Our Clean Futures Plan spells out our strategy to reduce GHG emissions by replacing our legacy carbon intensive fossil fuelled vessels with ships using clean energy,” Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ Vice President, Business Development & Innovation, said.
“These next four Island Class ships are a major step in our plan to progressively lower emissions across the fleet and be a leader in the energy transition to a lower carbon future.”
The company plans to operate these new ships as all-electric ferries, using clean energy, when electric charging technology matures to make electricity available in the quantities required. In the interim, these ships will use an on board low sulphur diesel hybrid system.
The total project budget, which includes financing and project management costs, is around CAD 200 million (USD 151.6 million).
The first two Island Class vessels will be deployed on the Powell River – Texada Island route and the Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula Island route by mid-2020.
The third and fourth new vessels will service the Campbell River – Quadra Island route and the fifth and sixth new ships will sail the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route by 2022.
The Island Class vessels will have the capacity to carry at least 47 vehicles and up to 300 – 450 passengers and crew depending on configuration.