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BC Ferries to convert Spirit vessels to LNG

LNG Industry,

The BC Ferries Commissioner has approved the company’s application to convert its two largest vessels to dual-fuel.

The Spirit of Vancouver Island and the Spirit of British Columbia will also receive mid-life upgrades. By using LNG instead of marine diesel fuel (as well as making some hull modifications), BC Ferries expects to save approximately CAN$ 9.2 million per year, over the remaining 27-year life cycle of the two vessels.

Reduce operating costs

Commenting on the approval, Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ VP – Engineering, said: “This is a huge step forward to help address fare affordability, as using LNG will greatly reduce our operating expenses on these two vessels. LNG also offers significant environmental benefits, cutting carbon emissions by about 25%, sulphur oxides by almost 100% and nitrogen oxides by 85%, which translates into much cleaner exhaust emissions than diesel fuel.”

In addition to converting the two Spirit Class vessels to LNG, BC Ferries is also building three dual-fuel intermediate class vessels scheduled for delivery in 2016 and 2017. These ships will operate in the Southern Gulf Islands and on the Powell River – Comox route.

Fuel savings

BC Ferries spent CAN$ 126 million on fuel last fiscal year and the two Spirit Class vessels consume approximately 15% of the fleet total. Converting these ships to LNG will reduce their cost of fuel by approximately 50%.

BC Ferries is currently carrying out a global procurement process to select a prime contractor and the dual-fuel propulsion equipment supplier. The company plans to make a selection not later than Q2 2015.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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