February 28, 2024

Conceptual rendering of BC Ferries’ New Major Vessels program, a first look at what up to seven new ferries could look like when they enter operation starting in 2029.

VICTORIADamen Shipyards Group (Damen) is the successful proponent to build four new hybrid electric Island Class vessels for BC Ferries that will add capacity across the system and help improve the travel experience for passengers.

“The new hybrid electric vessels will further standardize our fleet, both increasing capacity and improving our flexibility to move ships across routes so our passengers can have confidence that we’ll get them where they need to go,” said Nicolas Jimenez, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “Adding more Island Class vessels will also make it easier to deploy crew, create efficiencies in training costs, and promote safe, reliable and environmentally conscious ferry services up and down the coast.”

Damen, the same shipyard that built BC Ferries’ previous six Island Class ferries, is based out of the Netherlands and will build the vessels in Romania. Its bid was selected from among several proposals received from around the world. No Canadian companies submitted a bid.

This agreement with Damen is a design-build, fixed-priced contract that provides BC Ferries with substantial guarantees related to delivery dates, performance criteria, cost certainty and quality construction.

“We are super excited and extremely pleased with the award of four more Island Class type vessels for BC Ferries,” said Leo Postma, Damen’s Area Director Americas. “We have teamed up with the technical staff of BC Ferries now for seven years and together we developed a very efficient series of 10 ferries in total that meet all of the future requirements of safe, reliable and sustainable waterborne public transport.”

The new ships will carry at least 47 vehicles and up to 390 passengers and crew, and will have a number of features that support BC Ferries’ Clean Futures Plan goals of being efficient and environmentally responsible throughout its fleet and operations. The company plans to operate these new vessels exclusively in battery-electric mode, using renewable BC Hydro electricity.

The four new vessels will enter service by 2027 on the routes connecting Nanaimo Harbour and Gabriola Island (two vessels) and Campbell River and Quadra Island (two vessels). Through a separate contract, BC Ferries will also initiate corresponding electrical upgrades for shore-based rapid charging at the four terminals on these routes, in time for ship delivery.


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