BC Ferries has awarded Damen Shipyards Group with a repeat order of four additional Damen Road Ferries 8117 E3, also known as the “Island Class vessels”. The diesel-electric hybrid ferries follow two such vessels that the client ordered from Damen back in 2017. The four new vessels will provide inter-island ferry services between Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
Damen was awarded the order following a competitive tender process that began around a year ago, Damen sales manager Leo Postma explains.
“The fact that Damen had designed the original two island class ferries for BC Ferries, positioned us well to start building very quickly. Also, having very nearly completed the construction of the first order at the time of the award of contract, we had personnel ready and experienced in the building of this type of ferry.”
Added to this, BC Ferries is standardising its fleet, with a strong focus on interoperability and commonality of equipment and was keen to ensure commonality with the initial two vessels (the first of series of the Island Class). As well its experience with the initial vessel order, Damen specialises in the standardisation of ships. It is via this practice of shipbuilding, known as the Damen Standard, that the shipyards group is able to guarantee fast delivery of proven technology.
Standardisation across the fleet will offer BC Ferries the versatility to place the vessels on alternative routes should the need arise and will ensure rapid crew familiarisation with all vessels.
Leo continued: “We were very pleased to receive this order. We see it as an indication that we have met BC Ferries’ requirements with the first Damen Road Ferries 8117 E3 and we are proud of the confidence they have placed in us.”
The Damen Road Ferry 8117 E3 is 81 metres in length with the capacity to carry 300 passengers and crew as well as a minimum of 47 cars. The vessels’ hybrid fuel arrangement assists BC Ferries in its goal of improving environmental performance and, with the plan of evolving to full electric in the future, reduced operations costs.
The first two vessels are being transported aboard a semi-submersible heavy-lift vessel from Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania and are due to arrive in Canada end December.