BC Ferries two new Island Class hybrid electric ships are being moved from the Breakwater District at Ogden Point to the Point Hope Maritime. (Courtesy of BC Ferries)

Electric BC Ferries vessels on the move in Victoria

Public invited to watch unloading, transport process

After sailing in from another continent, BC Ferries’ two new hybrid electric vessels are headed on another journey – this time just around the corner.

Starting Friday morning, the ‘Island Class’ ships will be moved from the Breakwater at Ogden Point to Point Hope Maritime – a VicWest shipyard – where their systems will be started up and final inspections will take place, as required following a transport.

After re-commissioning work is complete, BC Ferries will take ownership of the boats. They will then be “christened before the company moves on to crew training, ship familiarization and dock fits.”

RELATED: New BC Ferries hybrid-electric vessels arrive in Victoria

The new ferries left Romania on Nov. 20 and arrived in Victoria on Jan. 18 via a semi-submersible transport ship, Sunrise. They were kept there while preparations were made to unload and deliver them to Point Hope Maritime.

When the ships are unloaded Friday, Sunrise will partially submerge so the two ships can be floated off and manoeuvred by tug boats to their new destination.

BC Ferries suggests the Esquimalt Lagoon as a viewing point for those who want to witness the rare ferry-moving manoeuvre. The transport will also require the raising of the Johnson Street Bridge – BC Ferries says the public can view that process from the bridge’s pedestrian platform.

The unloading process is expected to take several hours.

The new ferries are battery-equipped and designed “for future full electric operation.” BC Ferries says the ships will bridge the gap “until shore charging infrastructure and funding becomes available in B.C.” The ferry service says the vessels also reduce underwater radiated noise and lower emissions.

By mid-2020 the ferries will service the Powell River – Texada Island and Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula routes.

RELATED: BC Ferries budgets $200M to add four more hybrid-electric vessels to fleet



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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