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BC Ferries Runs LNG, Bunkers with LNG

February 24, 2017 in Dual Fuel, LNG, Marine, milestones by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

April for First of Three Newbuilds to Enter Service
As Agency Plans Retrofits of Two Flagship Vessels

“We intend to enter service fully on LNG,” says BC Ferries engineering VP Mark Wilson. His Vancouver-area agency is conducting training and sea trials now of Salish Orca, the first of three 353-foot (107-meter), liquefied natural gas-fueled Wärtsilä-powered vessels built by Remontowa in Gdansk, Poland.

BC Ferries took delivery of the 353-foot Salish Orca on January 18. Two sister ships will follow in the coming months.



Salish Orca is to enter service in April. Salish Eagle, currently on its way to the Panama Canal and thence to British Columbia, is to enter service early this coming summer. Salish Raven, now being completed in Gdansk, is to enter service early this autumn.

All three Salish-class ferries have three 8DL29DF (eight cylinder) LNG-diesel dual fuel Wärtsilä engines driving an electrical propulsion system. The Lloyd’s Register-classed vessels have Wärtsilä LNGPac fuel systems with single 130-cubic-meter (34,300-gallon) fuel tanks.

LNG En Route from Gdansk

Salish Orca was bunkered with LNG in Poland and ran on LNG for approximately six days out of its 50-day (10,440 nautical miles) passage from Poland, Wilson says. Salish Eagle likewise departed the Remontowa yard with a partial load of LNG fuel.

Salish Orca is to commence in service on BC Ferries’ Powell River-Comox route, replacing the Queen of Burnaby, which was built in 1965. “We’ll bunker at most two times a week,” Wilson told F&F, taking on about 60 cubic meters, or about 15,850 gallons of LNG, each time. Salish Eagle and Salish Raven will serve the agency’s Southern Gulf Islands routes.

Truck-to-Ship Onboard fueling of BC Ferries’ Salish Orca by FortisBC

As is done with the agency’s 35 diesel ferries, a FortisBC delivery truck will park on the LNG ferry’s deck, effecting a Truck-to-Ship Onboard transfer. No passengers will be present: “We’re going to bunker on non-operational time,” Wilson says.

Truck-to-Ship Onboard

(British Columbia’s Seaspan Ferries, likewise supported by FortisBC, is similarly doing Truck-to-Ship Onboard bunkering for its new LNG-fueled freight ferry, the Seaspan Swift, which entered service last month.

(Seaspan Swift and its sister Seaspan Reliant, which is expected to arrive in British Columbia tomorrow from the Sedef Shipyard in Istanbul, are also Wärtsilä-powered; F&F, January 24).

Remontowa for Larger Vessels Too

Four Wärtsilä 8L34DF engines will replace the diesel engines in BC Ferries’ ABS-classed Spirit of British Columbia and Spirit of Vancouver Island, which were built in 1993 and 1994 and have mechanical propeller linkage. The work, part of a mid-life upgrade, will be done by Remontowa in Poland under a C$140 million contract (HHP Insight, March 29, 2016).

BC Ferries’ two largest vessels, the Spirit of British Columbia and the Spirit of Vancouver Island, are to be converted to LNG-diesel dual fuel operation by Poland’s Remontowa Ship Repair under a contract totaling C$140 million.

Remontowa is to begin work on the first of the 548-foot (167-meter) pair, the Spirit of British Columbia, in Gdansk either late this coming September or early in October. Spirit of Vancouver Island will follow a year later.

LNG Is Expected to Save Money

The ABS-classed Spirit vessels will each be fitted with a single 180-cubic-meter (47,500-gallon) LNG tank, Wilson says. When they re-enter service, they are expected to bunker three to four times a week.

Even with the narrowing gap between the cost of ULSD/ultra low sulfur diesel and LNG, “in British Columbia, there is a significant price advantage,” Wilson says.

‘More LNG Vessels’

Estimates submitted to the Ferry Commission of Canada indicate expected savings on the order of $6.9 million in the first year both Spirit-class ships are in operation “and an average of approximately $9.6 million per year over the remaining 27-year life of the vessels” (emphasis added).

Going forward, “LNG is definitely going to be in the mix,” Wilson says. “There’s high probability that we’ll be building more LNG vessels down the road.”

BC Ferries’ LNG-fueled Salish Orca with artwork by Darlene Gait, Salish Eagle with artwork by John Marston, and Salish Raven with artwork by Thomas Cannell.


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Source: Fleets & Fuels interview, follow-up

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