One of BC Ferries’ largest vessels is back in service today after a mid-life upgrade.
The Spirit of British Columbia, one of the two largest ships in BC Ferries’ fleet, was sent to a shipyard in Poland, where it was converted to operate on liquefied natural gas (LNG).
It’s the first vessel in the world to refuel LNG via delivery on a fully enclosed vehicle deck.
LNG is cleaner for the environment than marine diesel, and is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 12,500 tonnes annually—the equivalent of taking approximately 2,500 vehicles off the road per year.
The Spirit of Vancouver will undergo a similar upgrade from fall 2018 to spring 2019.
“The Spirit of British Columbia returns to service with clean technology that reduces both our environmental footprint and cost of operations,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President & CEO on Tuesday.
“The two Spirit Class vessels consume approximately 16 per cent of our fuel annually. The conversion of our two largest ships in the fleet, along with the introduction of our three new natural gas-fuelled Salish Class vessels last year, goes a long way to improving the sustainability of our operations and affordability for ferry users.”
A new fuel system isn’t the only improvements passengers will experience on the Spirit of British Columbia, though.
The vessel was upgraded with new carpeting, furniture upholstery, and table tops, refurbished public washrooms, an additional washroom on deck 5, and a new Arbutus Coffee Bar on Deck 6.
Perhaps the best upgrade of all, however, is the addition of mobile charging stations throughout the ship’s lounge seating areas.