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BC Ferries urged to chart a new course around LNG

Editor’s note: The MV Tacheck, which sails between Heriot Bay and Whaletown, has a 200 kW-hr battery bank and is considered BC Ferries’ first ‘hybrid ferry.’ However it was built in 1969 and The Tachek’s primary power source is conventional diesel engines. It is currently scheduled to be replaced by one of the six Island Class hybrid-electric ferries in 2027. BC Ferries CEO Nicolas Jimenez told Cortes Currents that as the infrastructure to go fully electric is not in place, the new ferry will initially have to rely in its diesel engines.

 “I would say the technology hasn’t quite caught up  to us, but in 20 years, 40 years, 60 years, 80 years, I think that would be a very different proposition.  We might have different energy sources like hydrogen (and others) that today aren’t really being explored as viable in this industry, that could be with advances in technology. I think we have to be open minded about the whole thing, but it’s definitely going to be a cleaner, greener future.”

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

BC Ferries has launched a bid to build up to seven green flagship vessels but climate groups are urging the company to abandon liquified natural gas to fuel ships and speed electrification of its fleet to reach its emissions targets. 

The ferry service recently revealed it has teamed up with a naval architectural firm to develop an early design to replace six large aging vessels and expand capacity on the busiest routes between the mainland and Vancouver Island. 

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