In a competitive tender process that attracted international bidders, Damen Shipyards won a contract to build four, fully electric, passenger car ferries for BC Ferries.
They will operate short-range services in British Columbian coastal waters.
This order will take the total number of ferries that Damen has supplied to BC Ferries in recent years to 10. However, these latest additions will be the first to operate using 100% electrical power.
The vessels will be based on Damen’s double-ended Island-class RoRo 8117 E3 model. Each vessel will be capable of carrying up to 47 vehicles and 390 pax.
Battery packs with a capacity of 2,000 kW will supply the electricity for the power trains. Rapid recharging using renewable electricity will take place while the ferries disembark and embark their passengers and vehicles at each terminal.
The vessels will also be fitted with auxiliary diesel engines for back-up and general redundancy.
The shoreside charging equipment will also be supplied by Damen, which will be the fourth time that the company has provided this service – the first was also in Canada, in 2021, to support two hybrid Damen ferries delivered to the Ministry of Transportation, Ontario.
These were followed by projects in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Dordrecht, the Netherlands.
“The new hybrid electric vessels will further standardise our fleet, both increasing capacity and improving our flexibility to move ships across routes so our passengers can have confidence that we’ll get them where they need to go,” said Nicolas Jimenez, BC Ferries’ President and CEO.
“Adding more Island class vessels will also make it easier to deploy crew, create efficiencies in training costs, and promote safe, reliable and environmentally conscious ferry services up and down the coast.”
Leo Postma, Damen’s Area Director Americas, added: “We are very excited and extremely pleased with the award of an order of four more Island Class type vessels for BC Ferries. We have been working alongside the technical staff at BC Ferries for seven years now and together we have developed a series totalling 10 ferries that are highly efficient; meeting all the future requirements of safe, reliable and sustainable waterborne public transport.”
The four vessels are scheduled to begin operations by 2027. Two vessels each will operate between Nanaimo Harbour and Gabriola Island, and Campbell River and Quadra Island.