New BC Ferries vessel passes through Panama Canal en route from Polish shipyard

Salish Heron conducting sea trials in Gdansk, Poland in November 2021. || BC Ferries photo.
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BC Ferries’ fourth and final Salish class vessel transited the Panama Canal over the weekend on its way home from a Polish shipyard.

Salish Heron is expected to arrive in Victoria in late February and will be in service this year, according to a media release from BC Ferries.

By the time it completes the transoceanic voyage it will have travelled over 10,000 nautical miles and spent nearly two months navigating the Atlantic Ocean, the Panama Canal and the Pacific Coast of North America. 

The vessel will undergo an inspection at Ogden Point in Victoria before moving to the fleet maintenance unit in Richmond, where BC Ferries will officially take ownership and make final preparations to introduce Salish Heron into service.

The vessel 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 already in operation.

The Salish Class vessels operate on liquefied natural gas, a cleaner fuel than diesel. The Indigenous artwork on each Salish Class vessel is an acknowledgement of the Coast Salish sailors as original navigators of B.C.’s coastal waters.

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