By Mark Edward Nero
BC Ferries’ Salish Orca, the first of three new Salish-class vessels, is on its way to British Columbia. The vessel departed Gdansk, Poland on Nov. 22 for a 10,440-nautical mile journey that is expected to take 45 to 55 days, depending on weather.
“This is an exciting day for BC Ferries as our newest ship, Salish Orca, is one step closer to joining our fleet,” BC Ferries’ President and CEO Mike Corrigan said in a statement. “We look forward to introducing a new ship into service for our passengers on the Northern Sunshine Coast.”
The journey is expected to include stops for refueling in the Canary Islands and Panama after transiting the Panama Canal and sailing up the west coast of North America to British Columbia.
BC Ferries is expected to take final acceptance and ownership of Salish Orca upon final inspection once the vessel arrives in British Columbia. Remontowa Shipbuilding SA of Poland has contracted with a professional international ship delivery specialist. Some of BC Ferries’ crewmembers are on various legs of the voyage for training and familiarization.
The vessel, which is BC Ferries’ first natural-gas-powered vessel, is scheduled to arrive in Canada in January for crew training and familiarization. After public open houses in Powell River and Comox, the ship is scheduled to start service on that route in the spring of 2017.
Those wishing to track the ship’s progress including course, position and speed, can do so at www.vesselfinder.com.