VIDEO: BC Ferries battery hybrid duo arrives in British Columbia

Written by Nick Blenkey
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One of the two Island Class ferries seen on sea trials

BC Ferries’ two newest hybrid electric ships arrived at Ogden Point, Victoria, British Columbia, on January 18, 2020, on board the semi submersible transport vessel Sun Ocean.

Built at Damen’s Galati, Romania, shipyard, the two Island Class vessels are battery equipped ships designed for eventual full electric operation, once shore charging infrastructure becomes available.

From the exterior details to the engines, the design of the new vessels reduces underwater radiated noise, lowers emissions and improves customer service, says BC Ferries..

Damen Shipyards was awarded the contract for the two vessels back in 2017 and won orders for a further four in November last year (see earlier story).


The 81 meter ferries feature Schottel propulsion units. Each is equipped with two high-efficiency Schottel Twin Propellers.

“We’ve had positive experiences with Schottel azimuth thrusters in our Salish Class ferries, and opted for the German manufacturer for our Island Class as well,” said Captain Jamie Marshall, Vice President, Business Development and Innovation at BC Ferries. “The propulsion system is efficient, quiet and sustainable, and a good fit for our Island Class ferries.”

The main propulsion for each ferry consists of a pair of electric motors – each rated 950 kW at 1,700 rpm and driving the Schottel STP 340 azimuthing thrusters. Provided with a propeller diameter of 1.85 m, the STP enables a free-sailing speed of 14 knots.


Schottel Twin Propellers are well suited for quiet vessels or applications with limited installation space, draft or propeller clearance. By sharing the load between two propellers, the risk of cavitation is minimized and tip clearance is increased. Both of these characteristics, in turn, lead to lower underwater radiated noise and vibration levels. This concept also improves the efficiency of the propulsion system and reduces fuel consumption compared to single propellers.

Built to Damen’s Road Ferry 8117 E3 design, the ferries will each be capable of carrying up to 300 passengers and crew as well as 47 vehicles.

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