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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

BC Ferries Christens 2 New Vessels

By Mark Edward Nero

BC Ferries, the Province of British Columbia’s service provider responsible for ferry service, held an official naming ceremony recently for two vessels at Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk, Poland.

The Salish Eagle and Salish Raven were both christened on June 3, and will be fuelled by natural gas.

Using natural gas for the vessels is expected to result in the reduction of an estimated 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, the same as taking about 1,900 passenger vehicles off the road annually. Also, since natural gas is cheaper than marine diesel, operating costs are expected to be reduced.

The 107-meter (351-foot) ferries can carry 145 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew. There are two car decks and each ferry has a service speed of 15.5 knots. The service life of each vessel is about 40 years.

The first of three under-construction vessels, the Salish Orca, is planned to arrive in B.C. by the end of this year. The Salish Eagle is expected to arrive early in 2017, while the Salish Raven is expected in the spring of 2017. All three ferries are planned to be in operation in the summer of 2017, with the Salish Orca sailing the Comox–Powell River route, and the Salish Eagle and Salish Raven providing service to the Southern Gulf Islands.

The vessel sponsor for the Salish Eagle is Michelle Letourneau, currently a Master on the routes serving the Southern Gulf Islands. The sponsor for the Salish Raven is Jodi Gaudet, Chief Engineer on the M/V Quinsam, which operates on the Nanaimo-Gabriola Island route. Both women have worked in the marine industry for the past 20 years.

“This ceremony marks a major milestone in the construction of our three new Salish- Class vessels as they each take another step closer to entering our fleet,” BC Ferries President and CEO Mike Corrigan said. “These vessels, named after the Coast Salish people and the Salish Sea, represent British Columbia’s rich coastal culture and heritage, and will serve coastal communities for many years to come.”