Powered by three Wärtsila engines, the first of three new Salish Class vessels built for BC Ferries arrived in British Columbia on January 11. The 8,728 tonne dual-fuel vessel reached B.C. waters after completing a 50-day 10,440 nautical mile delivery journey from Gdansk, Poland. The Salish Class vessels were named to honour the indigenous Coast Salish people as the original mariners of the Salish Sea.
After Salish Orca clears Canadian Customs and final inspections are complete, the vessel will be officially handed over to BC Ferries. Over the next couple of months, crews will be trained and familiarized in the operation of this new state-of-the-art ship. After public open houses in Powell River and Comox, the vessel will start service on that route in the spring of 2017.
“This is a very exciting day for all of us at BC Ferries as we proudly welcome this beautiful ship, Salish Orca, home to British Columba and into our fleet,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “The Salish Class vessels will provide us cost savings and efficiencies with standardized vessels and greater interoperability as well as enhance safety well into the future. They are very well built ships, which will serve our customers for many years to come.”
The Salish Class vessels are BC Ferries’ first natural gas-fuelled vessels. Using natural gas as the primary fuel source is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 15 to 25 per cent, reduce sulphur oxides (SOx) by over 85 per cent, reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) by over 50 per cent, and nearly eliminate particulate matter.
The 107-metre Salish Class ships will carry 145 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew. The vessels feature two car decks and have a service speed of 15.5 knots. Each ship is powered by three Wartsila 8L20DF engines. Gross tonnage of each ship is 8,728 tonnes.
Salish Orca’s sister ships, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven, are expected to arrive in B.C. this spring and will start service in the Southern Gulf Islands later this year. Salish Orca will enter service on the Powell River – Comox route in the spring. The other ships will commence service in the Southern Gulf Islands later this year.
Under contract to the Province of British Columbia, BC Ferries is the service provider responsible for the delivery of safe, efficient and dependable ferry service along coastal British Columbia.
(Source: BC Ferries)