BC Ferries Takes Next Steps on LNG Bunker Dual-Fuel Retrofit

Thursday September 7, 2017

British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. (BC Ferries) today announced that the Spirit of British Columbia has been removed from service to prepare for the completion of a mid-life upgrade, including a conversion to to dual-fuel propulsion.

As Ship & Bunker reported at the time, in 2016, BC Ferries announced that Remontowa Ship Repair Yard S.A. (Remontowa Shipbuilding) in Gdansk, Poland had been awarded a $140 million contract complete mid-life upgrades (MLUs) on the Canadian ferry operator's two Spirit-Class vessels, including the conversion of both ships to dual-fuel so they can operate on either LNG or ultra-low sulfur marine diesel.

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 undergo the conversion process from the fall of 2018 through the spring of 2019.

"Last fiscal year, we spent approximately $100.2 million on diesel fuel of which the two Spirit Class vessels consumed approximately 15.5 percent," said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries' Vice President of Engineering, in a statement released today.

"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."

By using LNG bunkers on the Spirit Class vessels, BC Ferries says it expects to reduce CO2 emissions by 12,000 tonnes annually.

In March, BC Ferries announced that it had taken delivery of Salish Eagle, the company's second of three newbuild dual-fuel ferries featuring LNG-propulsion.