Wednesday, December 15, 2021


BC Ferries' fifth Island Class ferry as it departed Damen Shipyards in Galati, Romania bound for British Columbia. Photo Credit: BC Ferries

BC Ferries revealed the name of its latest Island Class ferry at a naming and hull christening ceremony at its fleet maintenance facility in Richmond, BC on December 14, 2021. Island Kwigwis is the newest vessel to join the fleet and begins service in the spring of 2022 -- allowing for 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 'Namgis First Nation and celebrates the beauty of the journey and connection to coastal communities.

In keeping with maritime tradition, BC Ferries selects sponsors for each of the ships, with each sponsor bestowing good luck on the ship and protection for those who travel on them. Each Island Class ship has a community sponsor and a sponsor from the BC Ferries family.

"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. 

Island Class ferries have have a 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 becomes available in BC. The design of the new vessels, from the exterior details to the engines, reduces underwater radiated noise, lowers emission and improves customer service. 

Earlier this year, BC Ferries and the First Peoples' Cultural Council revealed Coast Salish artwork for its newest Salish Class Ferry. 

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