BC Ferries revealed the name of its latest Island Class Ferry on Tuesday at a naming ceremony at its fleet maintenance facility in Richmond, B.C. Island Kwigwis is the newest vessel to join the fleet and will begin service in the spring of 2022, allowing for a two-ship operation on the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route.
The name Kwigwis, which means “eagle of the sea,” was selected with support from the ‘Na̲mg̲is First Nation and celebrates the beauty of the journey and the important connection to coastal communities. Today’s ceremony began with a few words from BC Ferries and Damen Shipyards, followed by the unveiling of the ships’ name, and the christening of the hull.
In keeping with maritime tradition, BC Ferries selected sponsors for each of the ships. These roles are important – each sponsor bestows the ship with good luck and protection for all those who travel on them. Each Island Class ship has a community sponsor and a sponsor from the BC Ferries family. Chief Bill Cranmer from ‘Na̲mg̲is First Nation christened Island Kwigwis along with Linda Provost, Planning and Business Advisor with BC Ferries.
“Island Kwigwis represents a small step on the path to fostering our relationships with First Nations, embracing our environmental responsibilities, while maintaining our commitment to the communities we serve,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President & CEO. “This ship will connect people and we are grateful for the opportunity to make that happen.”
Island Class ferries have the capacity to carry up to 47 vehicles and up to 450 passengers and crew. They are battery-equipped ships 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 in B.C. From the exterior details to the engines, the design of the new vessels reduces underwater radiated noise, lowers emissions, and improves customer service.
BC Ferries looks forward to welcoming this ship into service next year