Following the arrival of three dual-fuel Salish Class newbuilds into its fleet this year, BC Ferries is embarking on the second phase of its move to Liquefied Natural Gas marine fuel. The Spirit of British Columbia has been removed from service to prepare for departure to Remontowa Ship Repair Yard S.A. of Gdansk, Poland under its own power on September 12 for completion of a mid-life upgrade.
First it will sail to BC Ferries’ Fleet Maintenance Unit in Richmond (part of metro Vancouver, BC), where several preparations will occur including the installation of a wave break on the main car deck forward section, marine pilot access arrangements and voyage logistical provisions. Other tasks include safety inspections and de-storing of vessel equipment that will not be required during the transit or at the shipyard site.
The transit of the vessel to Gdansk, where the Salish Orca, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven were constructed, should take approximately 42 days, depending on weather. Remontowa Ship Repair Yard is the largest ship repair yard in Poland and ranks amongst the largest in Europe.
In 2016, BC Ferries awarded a contract to Remontowa Ship Repair Yard S.A. of Gdansk, Poland to conduct the Spirit Class (Spirit of Vancouver Island and Spirit of British Columbia) mid-life upgrades, which include the conversion of both vessels to dual-fuel so they can operate on liquefied natural gas or ultra-low sulphur marine diesel. BC Ferries plans to operate both vessels for another 25 years.
“Last fiscal year, we spent approximately $100.2 million on diesel fuel of which the two Spirit Class vessels consumed approximately 15.5 per cent,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering. “Liquefied natural gas costs significantly less than marine diesel. The conversion of the two largest ships in the fleet along with the three new dual-fuel Salish Class vessels that all entered service this year will go a long way to help both our environmental footprint and with fare affordability for our customers.”
BC Ferries expects to reduce CO2 emissions by 12,000 tonnes annually, which is the equivalent of taking approximately 2,500 vehicles off the road per year, by using natural gas to fuel the Spirit Class vessels.
The upgrade of the Spirit of British Columbia (built 1993) will be carried out from fall of 2017 through the spring of 2018. The Spirit of Vancouver Island (1994) will follow the next year from the fall of 2018 through the spring of 2019. This schedule will allow for these two vessels, the largest in the fleet, to be back in operation during the summer months when traffic is at its highest. Both ships service the Metro Vancouver – Victoria (Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay) run, which is the busiest route of the fleet.Source: BC Ferries