BC Ferries gives Indigenous names to new hybrid ships

VICTORIA – Two new BC Ferries ships that recently arrived in Victoria were given their own names on Monday.

The new Island-class ships were officially named Island K’ulut’a and Island Nagalis in a ceremony at Victoria’s Point Hope Maritime shipyard.

BC Ferries says it chose the names after a community engagement process.

Both ferries are scheduled to enter service next year along the Campbell River-Quadra Island route. These are the latest additions to the ferry service’s fleet of Island-class hybrid electric vessels.

“The names celebrate the important connection with some of the coastal communities served by the ferries,” the ferry service said in a statement on Monday.

“In KwakÌ“wala and LikÌ“wala, two of the Kwakwaka’wakw dialects, Nagalis means ‘dawn on the earth’ and K’ulut’a is the name of the porpoise,” the company added.

BC Ferries has announced that it will be commissioning original artwork from Indigenous artists for the interiors of the new ships.

The art should recognize Indigenous peoples as the original stewards and mariners of British Columbia’s coastal waterways, the company said.

The ferry service is partnering with the First Peoples Cultural Council to launch an open call to artists to select the work. Further details on the selection process will be announced in the fall, according to the company.

The six Island Class ferries will be able to operate entirely on electricity if and when shore power infrastructure is installed.

BC Ferries claims that Island Class ferries produce less underwater noise compared to standard diesel-powered vessels, thus improving conditions for marine animals.

The new ferries will have the capacity to carry 47 vehicles and up to 400 passengers and crew.

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