BC Ferries welcomed its newest vessel, Salish Orca, into service Tuesday with a small public event on board the 6:20 and 8:05 a.m. inaugural sailings on the Comox-Powell River route.
Ferries president and CEO Mark Collins cut a ceremonial ribbon to mark the first official car on board. Salish Orca is the first of three new Salish Class vessels. The Gulf Islands-bound Salish Eagle made a visit to Salt Spring’s Fulford terminal Tuesday as part of the commissioning process. It is set to go into service on the Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands route out of Long Harbour on June 21, with the Salish Raven joining the fleet later this fall.
The Salish class vessels are capable of operating on either natural gas or ultra-low sulphur marine diesel. BC Ferries states its use of natural gas will result in the reduction of an estimated 9,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, the same as taking approximately 1,900 passenger vehicles off the road annually.