BC Ferries announced today the Salish Orca, the first of three new Salish Class vessels built for BC Ferries, arrived in British Columbia today. The vessel reached B.C. waters this morning after a 50-day 10,440 nautical mile journey from Gdansk, Poland. The Salish Class vessels are BC Ferries’ first natural gas-fueled vessels. The vessels are dual-fuel, so they can operate on natural gas or ultra-low sulphur marine diesel.
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 the new ship. After public open houses in Powell River and Comox, Salish Orca will start service on that route in the spring of 2017.
“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.” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ President and CEO.
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.