BC Ferries’ newest Salish Class vessel leaves Polish shipyard bound for Vancouver Island

Salish Heron conducting sea trials in Gdansk, Poland in November 2021. || BC Ferries photo.
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BC Ferries’ newest Salish Class vessel is on its way to Vancouver Island.

Salish Heron left Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk, Poland today (Dec. 22). It will be the fourth Salish Class vessel to join the fleet when it enters service next year, according to a media release by BC Ferries.

Salish Heron will take about 55 days to make the transoceanic voyage, depending on weather. 

The ship will sail approximately 10,440 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean, through the Panama Canal and up the Pacific coast of North America, arriving at Victoria’s Ogden Point for inspection in February. It will then move to BC Ferries’ fleet maintenance unit in Richmond for final preparations, including application of the exterior artwork designed by Coast Salish artist Maynard Johnny Jr.

The Salish Class vessels operate on liquefied natural gas, a cleaner fuel than diesel, according to BC Ferries. The hull design creates a very small wake and the electric propulsion and structural design ensure a quiet ride. The Indigenous artwork on each Salish class vessel is an acknowledgement of the Coast Salish sailors as original navigators of these coastal waters.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Salish Heron into service next year,” said Captain Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ vice president, shipbuilding and innovation. “Given our presence in coastal waters, we are determined to conduct our operations in an environmentally responsible way in our transition to a lower carbon future.”

Salish Heron is identical to the three Salish Class ferries which entered service in 2017, with capacity to carry up to 138 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew. With three identical vessels already in service, BC Ferries said it is realizing the benefits of standardization as crew training is being completed on ferries currently in operation.

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