BC Ferries’ newest liquified natural gas-powered vessel has left Europe and begun an almost two month journey to Victoria.
The Salish Heron left a Polish dock on Wednesday and is expected to arrive at Ogden Point in February, after a scheduled 55-day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, through the Panama Canal and up North America’s Pacific Coast.
After arriving in Victoria, the Salish-class ferry will make a final stop in Richmond for painting, including artwork designed by Coast Salish artist Maynard Johnny Jr. to be applied on the vessel’s exterior.
The design was inspired by the heron’s tendency to lead people to fishing holes through its prominence in the Chemainus territory.
“Any form of art opens a door to ease people’s tensions and allow for us to express our feelings and concerns,” Johnny Jr. said at an unveiling of the design last month.
The ferry will carry up to 138 vehicles and 600 passengers and crew on trips between Swartz Bay and Pender, Saturna, Mayne and Galiano islands come spring. It’s identical to three others that came into service in 2017.
BC Ferries touted how the liquified natural gas-powered Salish Heron will run cleaner than diesel-powered vessels, how its hull design creates a small wake and the electric propulsion and structure will help make for quieter rides.
“We are looking forward to welcoming Salish Heron into service next year,” said Capt. Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ vice-president of shipbuilding and innovation. “Given our presence in coastal waters, we are determined to conduct our operations in an environmentally responsible way in our transition to a lower-carbon future.”
In other news for the company, BC Ferries’ sixth hybrid-electric vessel, temporarily known as Island 6, arrived in Victoria on Dec. 21 after a 72-day trip from a Romanian shipyard. The six battery-equipped Island-class ferries will be dedicated to Vancouver Island routes and will operate fully electric, once onshore charging infrastructure is in place.
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