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BC Ferries' new hybrid-electric ferries are on their way to B.C.

BC Ferries’ first hybrid-electric ferries have departed Europe and are making their way to British Columbia.

 BC Ferries' hybrid-electric Island Class ferries departed Constanta, Romania, on Nov. 20, 2019. The trip to B.C. is expected to take 40 to 45 days.BC Ferries’ hybrid electric Island Class ferries departed Constanta, Romania, on Nov. 20, 2019. The trip to B.C. is expected to take 40 to 45 days.

BC Ferries’ first hybrid-electric ferries are on their way to British Columbia.

The Island Class ships departed Constanta, Romania, on Thursday cradled on a semi-submersible vessel for the 10,305-nautical-mile journey to Vancouver Island.

Damen Shipyards Group, which built the vessels, is also responsible for delivering them.

The transatlantic voyage is expected to take about 40 to 45 days, depending on weather.

BC Ferries said in a statement the trip will include one stop for refuelling before or after transiting the Panama Canal.

To load the ships, the transport partially submerges, allowing the two ferries to be gently floated into place. Once in position, the delivery vessel is re-floated by pumping water out of its ballast tanks and the cargo is secured. On arrival, the semi-submersible delivery ship will be re-submerged to allow both vessels to float off. The vessels will be manoeuvered by tug to the berths at Point Hope Maritime in Victoria’s harbour.

The vessel can be tracked with course, position and speed at vesselfinder.com. The delivery ship, named Sun Rise, is owned and operated by Pan Ocean.

The Island Class ships are equipped with batteries and designed for full electric operation. BC Ferries said the ships are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore-charging infrastructure becomes available. 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 said it will take ownership of the Island Class ferries upon final inspection at Point Hope Maritime. The ships will be christened before BC Ferries moves on to crew training, ship familiarization and dock fits.

The Island Class ferries will be deployed on the Powell River-Texada Island and Port McNeill-Alert Bay-Sointula routes by mid-2020, said BC Ferries.