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BC Ferries has announced that its sixth battery hybrid electric Island Class ferry departed from Damen Shipyards Galati in Romani this week and is currently bound for British Columbia.

The Island 6 (as it is temporarily named) is the last in a series of battery hybrid electric vessels to join the BC Ferries fleet.

BC Ferries estimated that it will take approximately 60 days, depending on weather, for Island 6 to make the transoceanic voyage. The ship will sail under its own power across the Atlantic Ocean, through the Panama Canal and up the Pacific Coast of North America before arriving at Point Hope Maritime in Victoria, B.C.

Like the three Island Class ferries that came before it, approximately one-third of Island 6’s journey is expected to be completed by using battery power with the main engines stopped. BC Ferries said this is ‘proof that the Island Class ferries will be able to operate as fully electric vessels’ once its terminals have plug-in recharging capabilities. The batteries will be charged during the voyage by a diesel generator.

‘It is exciting to reach this milestone in our Island Class project,’ said Captain Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ Vice President, Shipbuilding & Innovation.

‘As these new ferries come into service, we are realising important environmental and sustainability benefits. Electric propulsion is quieter, smoother and more efficient compared to the traditional diesel propulsion of the vessels the Island Class will be replacing, and these ships will improve customer service by adding more capacity and frequency of service. We’re proud of the steps BC Ferries is taking to improve the ferry system in coastal British Columbia.’

BC Ferries will take ownership of Island 6 upon final inspection at Point Hope Maritime. The arrival of this new vessel will allow for the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route to be serviced by two Island Class vessels starting in 2022.

A video of the Island 6’s departure from Romania can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/-gLn_3JchkE.

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