Skip to main content



Monday, August 9, 2021 

BC Ferries’ fifth Island Class vessel, temporarily named 'Island 5', fifth of a series of xix vessels, is now on its way to British Columbia after departing Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania.

Depending on weather, it will take about 60 days to make the transatlantic voyage under Island 5’s own power. The approximately 10,700 nautical mile journey includes two stops for refuelling before and after transiting the Panama Canal. The vessel will sail up the west coast of North America, arriving at Point Hope Maritime in Victoria, BC.

The Island Class is a hybrid diesel-electric ferry with a number of key features that support BC Ferries’ Clean Futures Plan and the company’s goal to be more efficient and environmentally responsible throughout its system. Using advanced clean marine technology, the ships are designed for future full electric operation. The vessels are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding become available.

Capt Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries VP Shipbuilding & Innovation said: “The Island Class ferries are another step towards sustainability and standardising our fleet. Today, we have 35 vessels in 17 different classes across our fleet. We are aiming to create approximately six classes of vessels in the future.”

BC Ferries is already beginning to realize the benefits of standardisation. Crew training, ship familiarisation, and dock fits are being completed with Island Class ferries already in service. This reduces logistical, operational, training and maintenance costs, making for a more efficient ferry system overall.

“Standardisation helps us dramatically improve resiliency in our fleet by allowing us to move vessels around to replace each other during refits, repairs and unexpected challenges, and it provides a more consistent travel experience for our customers,” said Marshall.

Island Class ferries have the capacity to carry at least 47 vehicles and up to 400 passengers and crew, and allow for fleet redeployments and retirements of existing diesel-fuelled vessels.

The first two Island Class ferries, Island Discovery and Island Aurora, arrived in British Columbia via a semi-submersible heavy lift vessel in 2019, entering service on the Powell River – Texada Island route and the Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula Island route in mid-2020. The third Island Class ferry began its voyage under its own power on May 19 and arrived in Victoria, British Columbia July 22, while the fourth vessel departed Damen Shipyards Galati in early June and is currently off the coast of California.

The arrival of these latest vessels will allow Quadra Island and Gabriola Island to each be serviced by two Island Class vessels. BC Ferries will take ownership of the vessel upon final inspection at Point Hope Maritime and looks forward to welcoming Island 5 into service in 2022.

Reader Comments (0)

There are currently no comments on this article. Why not be the first and leave your thoughts below.

Leave Your Comment

Please keep your comment on topic, any inappropriate comments may be removed.

Return to index