The two newest additions to the BC Ferries fleet are expected to arrive in Victoria early in the new year.

The first two hybrid electric Island Class ferries departed Romania yesterday and will travel more than 10,300 nautical miles, through the Panama Canal and up the west coast.

The ships are being transported by a semi-submersible vessel and Communications Manager with BC Ferries, Tessa Humphries said these ferries mark a major milestone with the transportation giant.

“These are two hybrid-electric ferries and they’re now on their way to their permanent home in British Columbia,” said Humphries.

“It is a trans-Atlantic voyage, so we expect it to take approximately 40 to 45 days, but this is a big milestone for us in moving forward with our clean futures plan, as we progressively try to lower our emissions across our fleet,” said Humphries.

Humphries said these boats will go to full electric once new-age shore technology is ready.

“They’re battery-equipped for now, but they’re designed for fully electric operation. They’re fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until the shore-charging infrastructure becomes available, which is what is needed for electric,” said Humphries.

She added, “They will go fully electric once that shore-charging technology is available.”

These boats will serve the Powell River – Texada Island and the Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula Island routes by mid-2020.

The final destination for the transport is Point Hope Maritime in Victoria.

Two Island-class vessels are heading from Romania to Victoria. Supplied by BC Ferries.