British Columbia

BC Ferries to replace aging Mayne Queen with faster, cleaner Salish Class vessel

BC Ferries has commissioned the construction of another liquefied natural gas-fuelled vessel it says will replace one of its oldest vessels on a minor route.

Gdansk, Poland shipbuilders to deliver 4th cleaner-fuel hybrid Salish Class ferry by 2022

The BC Ferries Salish Class vessel, the Salish Raven, was commissioned in 2016. (BC Ferries)

BC Ferries has commissioned the construction of another liquefied natural gas-fuelled vessel it says will replace one of its oldest vessels on a minor route.

The company has awarded a contract to build a fourth natural gas, electric hybrid Salish Class ferry to shipbuilders Remontowa Shipbuilding SA, based in Gdansk, Poland.

"We are continually seeking energy sources that offer a cleaner, lower carbon-intensity option to displace non-renewable diesel," said Cpt. Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries' vice president of business development and innovation. "In our move toward a sustainable future, adopting LNG is one way to reduce our impact on the environment today."

The 107-metre vessel will be identical to the other three vessels the Polish company has already built, will have the capacity to carry at least 138 vehicles, up to 600 passengers and crew and travels at a maximum speed of 15.5 knots.

The 107-metre Salish Eagle which services the southern Gulf Islands, was also built in Gdansk, Poland in 2016, carries up to 138 vehicles, 600 passengers and crew, and travels at a maximum speed of 15.5 knots. (BC Ferries)

All four Salish Class vessels are powered by Wartsila engines and electrically propelled by Schottel thrusters at each end.

But the main feature is its use of natural gas as the primary fuel, which the corporation hopes will contribute to a 15 to 25 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions produced by the ferry fleet.

By comparison, the 85-metre Mayne Queen, built in Victoria, B.C., in 1965, can carry just 58 vehicles, up to 400 passengers and crew and travels at a maximum speed of 14.5 knots.

The latest addition is the corporation's fourth Salish Class vessel, bringing the total number of natural gas operated ferries to six.

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