New electrohybrid ferry launched in Romania

New ferry getting ready for Gabriola route

0422 - VICTORIA – BC Ferries is marking Earth Day today with the launch of its sixth battery electrichybrid Island Class ferry. The vessel entered the water early Wednesday morning at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania. The yet-to-be named ship is the last in a series of six Island Class vessels joining the BC Ferries fleet. When in operation, it will be one of two Island Class vessels assigned to the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route.

Work will continue on the new ship until scheduled sea trials in August. Following successful sea trials, the vessel will be delivered to Point Hope Maritime in Victoria in late 2021 for final preparations. Two-ship service is scheduled to begin on the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route in 2022, replacing the Quinsam.

“We are excited to reach this milestone in our Island Class project,” said Captain Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ Vice President, Shipbuilding and Innovation. “The launch of the sixth and final vessel in the series propels BC Ferries closer to reaching its goal to be efficient and environmentally responsible throughout the system.”

The Island Class is a hybrid diesel-electric ferry with a number of key features that support BC Ferries’ Clean Futures Plan. Once electric charging technology can be installed at BC Ferries’ terminals, these new ships will be configured to operate as all battery-electric ferries, using clean renewable hydroelectric energy. 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 dieselfuelled vessels. 

Replacing one larger ship with two smaller vessels on the route will provide customers with increased capacity per hour and more frequent service. Customers will also notice reduced vehicle line-ups and congestion on local roads, and improved safety. It eliminates the need to consume more greenspace to increase the size of terminal holding compounds by moving more traffic more frequently through the same amount of space.

BC Ferries deployed the first two Island Class vessels on the Powell River – Texada Island route and the Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula Island route in mid-2020. The third and fourth new ships will provide two-ship service on the Campbell River – Quadra Island route in 2022. The fifth Island Class ferry launched in February and, together with the sixth Island Class ferry, will provide two-ship service on the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route in 2022. 

BC Ferries issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI) for the construction of the four latest vessels to leading shipyards in Canada and around the world in July 2018. Canadian shipyards were invited to participate in the competitive bidding process. BC Ferries received responses from 18

British Columbia Ferry Services Inc., 500-1321 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC V8W 0B7 Tel (250) 978-1267 Fax (250) 978-1119 Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our emergency line at (250) 516-7211. Page 2 

international shipyards and short-listed nine shipyards to proceed to the Request for Proposal (RFP) stage. No Canadian companies submitted a bid.

Video of the launch is available here More information on community events and naming ceremonies will be released as it becomes available. For more information on BC Ferries’ Clean Futures Plan or the Island Class project, please visit

Ferries works with communities on schedules for two-ship service

0324 - BC Ferries is engaging with communities on the routes servicing Campbell River – Quadra Island and Gabriola – Nanaimo Harbour to optimize sailing schedules for the two new Island Class vessels destined for each route. The proposed schedules double the frequency of sailings during peak travel times and increase total capacity on the routes. The schedules will also reduce wait times on each route and help to mitigate congestion on local roads during peak times.

Launching today, the online engagement offers residents and ferry users the opportunity to share feedback regarding the proposed schedules. Online engagement runs from March 24 – April 12. BC Ferries is also scheduling virtual community meetings on Tuesday, April 6 from 6:00 - 7:30 pm for the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island schedule and on Wednesday, April 7 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm for the Campbell River – Quadra Island schedule. These meetings will give participants a chance to learn more about the proposed schedules and ask questions of the project team. Community members can participate in the online engagement and RSVP to attend the meeting at

In addition to online engagement, BC Ferries will work with Ferry Advisory Committees, local Indigenous communities, key stakeholder groups and employees to gather feedback on the proposed schedules.

Key operational considerations are incorporated into the proposed schedules, including the need to synchronize the movement of two ships, fuelling, labour requirements such as shift handovers and mandated safety procedures and drills.

The Island Class vessels are a critical part of BC Ferries’ move towards more sustainable operations as they use some of the most advanced clean marine technology in the world. The vessels are designed for full electric operation once shore charging infrastructure and funding become available. Currently, these vessels are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until that time.

On board the Island Class vessel, passenger lounges and washrooms are situated on the main deck for easy access. BC Ferries designed the lounge areas for comfort, with a variety of seating choices and charging stations for electronics. An overhead sundeck with seating, windbreaks and an accessible washroom provide a comfortable space to sit outdoors.

To learn more about the Island Class project, please visit

Horseshoe Bay Terminal upgrade notice

BC Ferries is conducting construction work at the Horseshoe Bay Terminal to maintain aging infrastructure. The contractor will be mobilizing March 24 with work commencing March 30 and anticipated completion in July 2021. 

The project includes concrete restoration work on the terminal’s elevated vehicle transfer deck, which is necessary to maintain the infrastructure.   

The work may increase the normal sound levels within the terminal Monday to Friday between 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, and throughout the night for the first two months of the project.  This work needs to be completed overnight to minimize the impact to sailings operating out of the terminal.  BC Ferries will work closely with the contractor to minimize noise. Earplugs will also be available, upon request, for customers queuing or waiting near the areas of work. 

Traffic patterns in the terminal will be modified to accommodate the work.  Customers are reminded to follow the direction of staff.

The Horseshoe Bay Terminal Development Plan remains the long-term vision for the terminal.  While we revisit our capital planning in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, we will complete these critical infrastructure upgrades to ensure we can continue to provide safe, reliable, and efficient service for our customers through this terminal. 

We apologize for any inconvenience this work may cause.  BC Ferries would like to thank its customers and neighbours for their patience and understanding as we complete this necessary work.

Check BC Ferries’ Service Notice page for further project updates.  For traffic updates, call 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779) or check our website at

B.C. Ferries will be tested on Gabriola run in February

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel, Island Aurora, will sail on the Gabriola Island – Nanaimo Harbour route for an operational trial on February 6, 7 and 8. Those who need to travel for essential reasons can sail aboard the Island Aurora and experience this new class of vessel safely, while following COVID-19 protocols. The Island Aurorawill sail in conjunction with the Quinsam, which will operate on its regular schedule during the trial. 

On February 6, the Island Aurora will sail on the route while performing operational exercises. The vessel will not carry passengers or vehicles during this time. On February 7 and 8, customers travelling for essential reasons may sail aboard the Island Aurora and regular fares will apply. More details regarding the trial and timing will be shared next week.     

Next year, BC Ferries will introduce two new Island Class vessels to the route, replacing the Quinsam. The trial will lead to learnings regarding operational efficiencies, loading times and sailing intervals. BC Ferries will use this information to work with the community on sailing schedules during community engagement scheduled for later this Spring.

For more information or traffic updates please follow @BCFerries on Twitter, visit our website at, or call us toll free at 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779).

For the most up-to-date sailing and departure information we recommend customers view Current Conditions.

B.C. Ferries cancels Tuesday sailings due to weather

0104 – B.C. Ferries has cancelled a number of sailings Tuesday in response to a high wind forecast.

Ferries issued a notice Monday cancelling sailings between Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay from 10:40 a.m. until 5:55 p.m. on Tuesday. Four sailings are being cancelled to and from Nanaimo and West Vancouver.

The notice says the safety of passengers and crew is of primary importance and decisions to cancel sailings aren’t taken lightly. B.C. Ferries said it appreciates patience from travellers and apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the cancellations.

For more information, visit