BC Ferries orders two hybrid diesel-electric vessels

Vessels to use onboard electric battery power and run on ultra-low-sulphur diesel.

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Updated on 07 Jun 2017 07:18 GMT

BC Ferries has awarded Damen Shipyards a contract to build two hybrid diesel-electric vessels that are scheduled to enter into service in 2020.

The two minor-class vessels will have the capacity to carry at least 44 vehicles and up to 300 passengers and crew and are to include a hybrid diesel-electric battery power generation and propulsion system that uses onboard electric battery power for operation of the vessel.

The design also allows for future expansion of the onboard battery capacity to permit full electric operation when shoreside charging is available.

The engines will operate on ultra-low-sulphur diesel fuel, which has lower environmental impact than regular marine diesel oil. The Tier III-compliant diesel engines also have low nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate emissions.

Furthermore, the vessel includes a fully contained waste water handling system which eliminates discharges to the sea.

The total project budget, which includes financing and project management costs, is approximately CAD 86.5 million (USD 64.3 million). The project is partially funded by the Government of Canada.

The first of the new vessels is to be deployed on the Powell River - Texada Island route, replacing the 59-year-old North Island Princess, which will be retired from the BC Ferries fleet. The second vessel will replace the Quadra Queen II on the Port McNeill - Alert Bay - Sointula route. The Quadra Queen II will become a relief vessel, allowing for fleet redeployments and the retirement of the 53-year-old Howe Sound Queen.

Selection of Damen

BC Ferries issued a Request for expressions of Interest (RFEOI) for the design and construction of the vessels to leading shipyards in Canada and around the world in March 2016.

BC Ferries says it then received responses from 28 national and international shipyards, and shortlisted 12 to proceed to the Request for Proposal (RFP) stage, including five from Canada. Of the four compliant RFP responses, none of the shortlisted Canadian companies are said to have submitted a bid.

Damen, which operates 33 shipyards, is scheduled to build BC Ferries' new ships at Galati, in Romania. Damen has also entered into an agreement with Point Hope Shipyards of Victoria, Canada, to provide technical and warranty support for the new vessels, ensuring repair and maintenance activities will be performed in British Columbia.