BC Ferries announces new ferry names during special ceremony

Jennifer Thacker, BC Ferries’ crewing advisor, and June Johnson from We Wai Kai Nation sponsored Island K’ulut’a during the naming ceremony on Aug. 23. || BC Ferries photo.
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BC Ferries revealed the names of its third and fourth Island Class ferries during a special naming ceremony at Victoria’s Point Hope Maritime yesterday (Aug. 23).

Island Nagalis and Island K’ulut’a are the newest vessels to enter the fleet, allowing two-ship service to begin on the Campbell River–Quadra Island route next year. The names were selected following a community engagement process, according to a media release by BC Ferries. Island Class ferries are battery equipped ships designed for future full electric operation.

“When these ships enter service next year, they will connect communities and help BC Ferries in its journey towards being one of the most sustainable companies in the world. We are grateful to have members of the BC Ferries family and the communities we serve bestow the ships with good luck and protection,” said Mark Collins, president and CEO of BC Ferries.

They celebrate the important connection to some of the coastal communities the ferries will serve. In both Kwak̓wala and Lik̓wala, two of the Kwakwaka’wakw dialects, Nagalis means “dawn on the land” and K’ulut’a is the name for porpoise. The ships’ hulls were also christened during the ceremony, which was attended by representatives from We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum nations and dignitaries, the release said.

In keeping with maritime tradition, BC Ferries selected sponsors for each of the ships. Each sponsor bestows the ship with good luck and protection for all those who travel on them, according to BC Ferries. In recognition of her achievement and service with BC Ferries, Joanne Doyle, fleet strategic planning manager, christened Island Nagalis along with Lorraine Henderson from Wei Wai Kum First Nation, representing the community. June Johnson from We Wai Kai Nation joined Jennifer Thacker, BC Ferries’ crewing advisor to christen Island K’ulut’a.

BC Ferries said it is pleased to partner with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC) again to commission original artwork from Indigenous artists for the interior of the Island Class vessels. The art recognizes Indigenous peoples as stewards and original mariners of B.C.’s coastal waterways. FPCC will manage the open call to artists and facilitate an equitable selection process. BC Ferries said details will be announced in the fall.

“This project provides a unique opportunity to share the exceptional work of Indigenous artists with people from across B.C. and around the world. We hold our hands up to BC Ferries for partnering in a fair and equitable Indigenous-led selection process and for acknowledging the Kwakwakaw̓akw language in the vessel names,” said Karen Aird, acting CEO for the FPCC.

Island Class vessels are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding becomes available in B.C., according to BC Ferries.

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