The following is the text of a news release from BC Ferries:
(VICTORIA, British Columbia) — BC Ferries held the official naming ceremony Thursday for the second and third Salish-class vessels at Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk, Poland. Salish Eagle and Salish Raven were christened according to maritime tradition with the customary breaking of a champagne bottle on each hull.
The vessel sponsor for Salish Eagle is Michelle Letourneau, currently a master on the routes serving the Southern Gulf Islands. The sponsor for Salish Raven is Jodi Gaudet, chief engineer on M/V Quinsam, which operates on the Nanaimo-Gabriola Island route. Both women have worked diligently over the past 20 years to advance their careers in the marine industry, and are thrilled at being selected as sponsors of these newest BC Ferries vessels.
“This ceremony marks a major milestone in the construction of our three new Salish-class vessels as they each take another step closer to entering our fleet,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ president and CEO. “These vessels, named after the Coast Salish people and the Salish Sea, represent British Columbia’s rich coastal culture and heritage, and will serve coastal communities for many years to come.”
The Salish-class vessels will be fueled by natural gas, similar to gas used in homes, schools, hospitals and businesses, which is better for the environment than the traditional marine diesel oil. Using natural gas for the Salish-class vessels will result in the reduction of an estimated 9,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, the same as taking approximately 1,900 passenger vehicles off the road annually. Plus, natural gas is cheaper than marine diesel, which will reduce operating costs.
The 351-foot Salish-class ferries will carry 145 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew. There are two car decks and each ferry has a service speed of 15.5 knots. The service life of each vessel is approximately 40 years.
The first vessel, Salish Orca, is planned to arrive in British Columbia by the end of this year. Salish Eagle is expected to arrive early in 2017 and Salish Raven is expected to arrive shortly thereafter in the spring of 2017. All three vessels are planned to be in operation in the summer of 2017. Salish Orca will sail on the Comox-Powell River route. Salish Eagle and Salish Raven will provide service to the Southern Gulf Islands.