Mark Collins, president and CEO of BC Ferries stands in front of one of the two Island Class hybrid ferries that were christened with new names ahead of going into service. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

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

Island Aurora and Island Discovery will service Gulf Island and North Island routes

Two new vessels in the BC Ferries fleet were splashed with a small coat of champagne on Wednesday afternoon as they were officially christened with their new names.

The Island Discovery and Island Aurora vessels are new hybrid ships scheduled to sail the Powell River-Texada Island and Port McNeill-Alert Bay-Sointula routes, respectively. They were manufactured in Romania and made their way to Victoria via a two-month journey.

Island Discovery will replace the 59-year-old North Island Princess, which will be decommissioned from the fleet, while Island Aurora will replace Quadra Queen II, which will be retained as a relief vessel.

Both ships are identical, and as Island Class ferries can carry 47 vehicles and more than 300 passengers.

PHOTOS: New BC Ferries hybrid vessels arrive in Victoria’s Inner Harbour

They are also the quietest ships in the fleet, thanks to the hybrid technology on board that allow them to run on diesel and electric. Presently they will run on 20 per cent battery, with a long term plan of being 100 per cent battery.

“I like to think of these as electric ships with a temporary hybrid system,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries president and CEO. “We will go full electric just as soon as the shore side of infrastructure is complete.”

This will likely be five to 10 years.

F0our more identical hybrid Island Class vessels, each with a price tag of $40 million, will be ordered in the near-future as well.

ALSO READ: New BC Ferries hybrid vessels make their way through Panama Canal before coming to Victoria

While the Island Class vessels serve smaller routes, BC Ferries plans on on also bringing in hybrid vessels for its larger routes, such as the Swartz-Bay Tsawwassan routes.

“We’re in the process right now of studying the technical concepts that will go into our next new class of ships on major class vessels, about the size of the spirit class,” Collins said. “For those, certainly hybrid technology will be used to reduce noise, reduce fuel consumption and reduce greenhouse gasses.”

Larger hybrid vessels are anticipated to join the fleet in four years.

Island Aurora and Island Discovery are anticipated to begin operating in mid-May.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

bc ferryBCFerries

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

DFO says the five aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Share your thoughts on proposed Quinsam Heights Official Community Plan changes

The City of Campbell River is seeking public feedback on a proposal… Continue reading

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Campbell River mural defaced by graffiti

The owner of a building on Westgate Road is upset that a… Continue reading

Man arrested after stabbing incident at makeshift camp near Vancouver Island mall

RCMP in Parksville report 28-year-old man taken into custody without incident

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Most Read