Canada’s BC Ferries in LNG retrofit

Spirit of British Columbia (Image courtesy of BC Ferries)

Canada’s British Columbia Ferry Services (BC Ferries) said that its vessel Spirit of British Columbia had been removed from service to undergo mid-life upgrade and conversion to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The vessel will depart from BC Ferries’ fleet maintenance unit in Richmond to Remontowa yard in Gdansk, Poland on September 12.

In 2016, BC Ferries awarded a contract to Remontowa to conduct the Spirit Class mid-life upgrades, which include the conversion of both vessels to dual-fuel so they can operate on LNG or ultra-low sulphur marine diesel.

“Last fiscal year, we spent approximately $100.2 million on diesel fuel of which the two Spirit Class vessels consumed approximately 15.5 per cent,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering.

“Liquefied natural gas costs significantly less than marine diesel. The conversion of the two largest ships in the fleet along with the three new dual-fuel Salish Class vessels that all entered service this year will go a long way to help both our environmental footprint and with fare affordability for our customers,” added Wilson.

BC Ferries expects to reduce CO2 emissions by 12,000 tonnes annually, which is the equivalent of taking approximately 2,500 vehicles off the road per year, by using natural gas to fuel the Spirit Class vessels.

The Spirit of British Columbia will be the first ship through the mid-life upgrade and conversion process, with the upgrade being completed from fall of 2017 through the spring of 2018. The Spirit of Vancouver Island will follow the next year from the fall of 2018 through the spring of 2019.

The Spirit of British Columbia was built in 1993 and the Spirit of Vancouver Island was built in 1994. BC Ferries plans to operate these two vessels for another 25 years.

Both ships service the Metro Vancouver – Victoria (Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay) run.

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