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B.C. Ferries picks Netherlands-based company to build four more hybrid-electric ships

The new island class vessels will be powered by a diesel-electric hybrid system. (BC Ferries - image credit)
The new island class vessels will be powered by a diesel-electric hybrid system. (BC Ferries - image credit)

B.C. Ferries has awarded a contract to build four new hybrid-electric vessels to be ready to sail by 2027.

The ferry corporation says in a statement that the contract has gone to Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards Group, the same company that built its last six ferries in the same Island Class of double-ended hybrid ships.

B.C. Ferries' president and CEO Nicolas Jimenez says the new ships will increase capacity and improve the company's flexibility to move vessels across routes.

The statement doesn't include how much B.C. Ferries is spending on the new vessels, but approval of the purchase by the B.C. Ferries Commissioner last year said the four ships would cost more than $50 million, and associated electrification of ferry terminals more than $40 million.

The new ships will each carry at least 47 vehicles and up to 390 passengers and crew with a plan to operate exclusively in battery-electric mode.

They'll sail on routes connecting Nanaimo Harbour and Gabriola Island and Campbell River and Quadra Island.