New ships on the block By Cindy Chan he Island Class vessels will be joining BC Ferries’ fleet very soon. The newest class of ferry is slated to consist of six vessels in total over the next two years. By 2020, two Island Class ferries will service the Powell River – Texada route and the Port McNeill – Alert Bay route. By 2021, four Island Class ferries are expected to service Campbell River – Quadra Island (two ferries) and Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island (two ferries). Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ vice-president of strategy and community engagement, explains that two of the ferries are currently under construction. “Four or five years ago, we had 17 classes of vessels that generated significant reliability costing and operational challenges,” he says. “Under the class strategy, we’re trying to get down to five classes of vessels to gain efficiencies on several levels.” “We are excited the vessels will arrive here in British Columbia for final acceptance in fall of this year. We will go through a series of final acceptance work at Point Hope Shipyard in Victoria, B.C., operational training and final handover after that,” Wilson continues. The key features of the Island Class ferries include a hybrid diesel-electric battery power generation and propulsion system; flexibility for full electric operation in the future; low energy consumption; hull, thrusters and propellers designed for minimal underwater radiated noise (URN); low noise, low vibration and minimal wake wash; fully contained wastewater system; mechanical and electrical systems designed for efficient performance and ease of maintenance; maneuverability and comfortable travel in coastal waters at all times of the year; 14 knots of service speed for efficient travel and resiliency of service; and a minimum of 40 years of service life.
“They will be the largest number of vessels in BC Ferries’ fleet over the next 10 to 15 years. We’re predicting we’ll need 10 to 12 of those, because they are really important in connecting to coastal islands in Vancouver Island,” Wilson says. Wilson adds the Island Class vessel is one of the most progressive and modern ferries because it is a hybrid electric ferry with a focus on reducing its environmental footprint and emissions of underwater radiated noise. In fact, BC Ferries has plans to eventually have many all-electric ferries in its fleet. However, the company faces some challenges in regards to that goal, which are “the remoteness of the activities up and down coastal British Columbia and the energy density of current battery technology,” according to Wilson. “Some of these routes are longer than other ferry systems in urban areas – around 45 minutes to an hour, and that requires significant battery storage energy,” Wilson says. The Island Class vessels are modern, double-ender ferries, meaning they are multi-directional and they don’t need to turn around when leaving the dock. “The ferries have the latest bridge and navigation equipment, the latest propulsion equipment in terms of electric batteries and thrusters and the latest lifesaving and fire protection equipment. The design of the vessel has a very efficient hull profile,” Wilson says. The Island Class ferries will be able to carry 47 vehicles and up to 450 passengers and crew members. The ships will also feature wide vehicle lanes, dedicated pedestrian paths and bicycle parking spaces. For more information, visit bcferries.com. Ü
B.C. Tugboat 2019
There’s a lot going on in the tugboat industry. BC Ferries will soon be introducing the new Island Class Vessels. Two of the ferries will b...