BC Ferries to build hybrid electric vessels

BC Ferries to build hybrid electric vessels
BC Ferries’ Salish Eagle

BC Ferries has issued Requests for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI) for the procurement of five new low-carbon electric hybrid propulsion vessels.

The vessels will replace aging fleet assets with the aim of improving the company’s sustainability by using electric propulsion, including batteries, to reduce emissions and underwater noise.

Mark Wilson, BC ferries’ vice president of strategy and community engagement, said: “These new vessels will help us move toward our ambition to be leaders in the transition to a lower carbon future, and our standardisation and interoperability of the fleet. This improves safety, environmental performance and resiliency, and reduces costs.”

The five new vessels will replace older vessels, increasing capacity and frequency. Passenger carrying capacity will more than double from 400 to 900 passengers per hour. A more frequent ferry service is expected to reduce line-ups, improve safety, provide more convenience to travellers and eliminate the need to increase the size of the terminal holding compounds.

The first RFEOI is for the procurement process for the construction of four 81-metre Island Class ferries. The expected delivery date for these vessels is 2020 and 2021. The second RFEOI is for the construction of one 107-metre Salish Class vessel with an expected delivery date in 2021.

Two Island Class vessels are currently under construction and three Salish Class ships joined the fleet last year. BC Ferries holds the design rights to both classes of vessels and will specify that the new vessels are to be built identically to ensure interoperability. The designs will be provided to shipyards.

“The Island Class ships will be electric hybrid propulsion, including batteries, and the Salish Class will be fuelled with natural gas,” continued Mr Wilson. “These new clean-tech vessels will reduce our carbon emissions, helping the Province achieve its greenhouse gas reduction targets, and have the added benefit of reducing the amount of underwater radiated noise we produce.”

The competitive bidding process is open to local, national and international shipyards, including consortiums. BC Ferries encourages local and national companies to bid on these projects.