BC Ferries’ newest vessel, Island Aurora, will sail on the Campbell River – Quadra Island route for an operational trial on December 3, 4 and 5. Those who need to travel for essential reasons can sail aboard the Island Aurora and experience this new class of vessel safely, while following COVID-19 protocols. The Island Aurora will sail in conjunction with the Powell River Queen, which will operate on its regular schedule during the trial.
The Island Aurora is currently undergoing planned warranty work at Point Hope Martime in Victoria. As the vessel sails back to the Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula route, there is an opportunity to stop in Campbell River. The trial will lead to learnings regarding operational efficiencies, loading times and sailing intervals. BC Ferries will use these learnings to collaborate with the community on sailing schedules during community engagement in early 2021.
In early 2022, BC Ferries will introduce two new Island Class vessels to the route, replacing the Powell River Queen. Customers travelling for essential reasons may sail on the Island Aurora on December 4 and 5 during the trial and regular fares will apply. More details regarding the trial and timing will be shared early next week.
“Bringing two new Island Class vessels to the route increases the daily passenger and vehicle capacity of the route and creates a positive economic impact in the community,” said Corrine Storey, BC Ferries Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “Two vessels also increases frequency and reduces wait times, and helps BC Ferries transition to a lower carbon future.”
The Island Class vessels are designed for future full electric operation. The ships are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding become available.
On board the Island Class, passenger lounges and washrooms are situated on the main deck for easy access. BC Ferries designed the lounge areas for comfort, with a variety of seating choices and charging stations for electronics. An overhead sundeck with seating, windbreaks and an accessible washroom provide a comfortable space to sit outdoors.
Sea News, November 30