BC Ferries’ third Island Class vessel launches at Damen Shipyard in Romania on Oct. 28, 2020. Photo courtesy BC Ferries

VIDEO: First of two new ferries slated for Quadra Island run launched in Romania

Vessel will travel to Victoria next summer and begin service in 2022

The third Island Class Vessel slated for BC Ferries’ Campbell River to Quadra Island run was launched in Romania Oct. 28.

The vessel, launched at Damen Shipyards Galati, is part of an order of six such vessels for the ferry operator and will perform an environmentally efficient inter-island ferry service between Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

See the launch here:

Work will continue on the new ship until scheduled sea trials in February. Following successful sea trials, the vessel will make its way to Point Hope Maritime in Victoria in summer 2021 for final preparations. The yet-to-be named ship will begin service on the Campbell River – Quadra Island (Quathiaski Cove) route in 2022. A fourth Island Class ferry is scheduled to be added to the route in 2022, replacing the existing Powell River Queen with a two-ship operation.

BC Ferries says in a press release that by replacing one larger ship with two smaller vessels on this route, customers will receive more frequent service, increased capacity per hour (from 59 to 94 vehicles per hour, on average), reduced vehicle line-ups, improved safety and reduced congestion on local roads. It also eliminates the need to consume more greenspace to increase the size of terminal holding compounds by moving more traffic through the same amount of space.

Damen has already delivered two vessels to BC Ferries in February this year. The Island Discovery, which is serving the Powell River to Texada Island route, and Island Aurora, which is operating between Port McNeill, Alert Bay and Sointula, have been providing a service along the British Columbia coast since June this year.

RELATED: Two new hybrid BC Ferries ships christened with new names in Victoria ceremony

The Island Class vessels are Damen Road Ferries 8117 E3; the E3 standing for environmentally friendly, efficient in operation and economically viable. The vessels’ hybrid fuel arrangement assists BC Ferries in its goal of improving environmental performance, with a view to evolving towards full electric propulsion in the future. The ferry can carry up to 300 passengers and at least 47 cars.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of attendees, the launching ceremony was a digital one. Delegates from Canada, Romania and the Netherlands joined the event remotely, including BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins and Damen Shipyards Group Chairman Kommer Damen.

Collins said, “I just want to say thank you to everyone at Damen Shipyards Galati for the launching of the Island Class phase three. This is the third in our series of six vessels that are bringing clean, green, environmentally sustainable performance to the ferry system of British Columbia. Up and down the coast, the first two ships have been a great success and we look forward to receiving the next four. Thank you to everybody for your role in bringing this tremendous vessel to the people of British Columbia.”

RELATED: BC Ferries wants two new ferries for Campbell River-Quadra run

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