BC Ferries welcomes first dual-fuel ship

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The following is the text of a news release from BC Ferries:

(VICTORIA, British Columbia) — 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.

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, Salish Orca will start service on that route in the spring of 2017.

The Salish-class vessels are BC Ferries’ first natural gas-fueled vessels. Using natural gas as the primary fuel source is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 15 to 25 percent, reduce sulfur oxides (SOx) by over 85 percent, reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) by over 50 percent, and nearly eliminate particulate matter.

The 351-foot 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.

By Professional Mariner Staff