Canadian Ferries to be Converted to Dual Fuel Operation
On Monday, Canada’s BC Ferries announced that the two largest of its ferries — the Spirit of Vancouver Island and the Spirit of British Columbia — would be converted to dual fuel operation (diesel and LNG) by 2018. The estimated cost of the conversions was not released, but they did release an estimate that they expect to save approximately $9.2 million per year in fuel costs over the remaining 27-year lifespan of the vessels. “We are well aware that fare affordability is a concern for our customers and operating on LNG, which is approximately 50 per cent cheaper than marine diesel, is a game changer for BC Ferries,” said CEO Mike Corrigan. The two vessels operate on the busiest route between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen, and consume more fuel than any other vessels in the fleet. BC Ferries spent $126 million on fuel last fiscal year, and the two Spirit-Class vessels consumed approximately 15 per cent of the fleet total. The Spirit Class vessels were launched in 1993 and 1994, and have the capacity to carry 410 cars and 34 semi-trucks each. Earlier this year BC Ferries announced plans to build three new smaller vessels that would also run on LNG. BC Ferries is one of the largest ferry operators in the world, providing year-round vehicle and passenger service on 25 routes to 47 terminals, with a fleet of 35 vessels.