In a span of just a few weeks time, Damen Shipyards has launched two 81-meter road ferries for Canadian ferry operator BC Ferries at Damen’s yard in Galati, Romania.
The ferries have been built to Damen’s Road Ferry 8117E3 design and will serve the Northern Gulf Islands off the coast of Vancouver, replacing vessels that are now over fifty years old.
Damen says the order was secured following an extensive, multi-phased, international tender process, part of BC Ferries’ fleet renewal program that will see a number of new vessels operating in the province of British Colombia. Both ferries are now being fitted out ahead of entering service next year.
Once operational they will be capable of carrying up to 300 passengers and crew, and 47 vehicles.
“This class of vessels is very important for BC Ferries as it represents our newest vessel type, introducing a state-of-the-art, diesel-electric, hybrid propulsion system,” said Paul Catsburg, director of the vessel replacement program at BC Ferries during his speech at the launch in Romania. “The ships’ hybrid design is important for two main reasons; firstly to improve environmental stewardship and secondly to reduce operating costs by evolving to full electric propulsion.”
Damen is working to a fixed-priced contract that provides BC Ferries with guarantees related to delivery dates, performance criteria, cost and quality of construction.
Damen says building two identical vessels nearly simultaneously also delivers cost savings and other efficiencies. After-sales warranty support will be provided by Point Hope Shipyards in Victoria, British Columbia in an agreement with Damen.