Ferry Business - Autumn/Winter 2017

International Cruise & Ferry Review Ferry Business INTERVIEW 72 Captain Jamie Marshall explains to Sam Ballard why the changes BC Ferries is making will secure its future and create a better world for everyone Going green hile many firms are being forced to cut back or consolidate their existing operations, there are a few notable exceptions. Whether its fluctuating currency prices or unstable geopolitics, it is always interesting to take a step back and see how different companies respond to their various challenges. In the eyes of Canadian operator BC Ferries, it is a time for expansion. “It’s been an exciting year,” begins Captain Jamie Marshall, the vice president of fleet operations at BC Ferries, the firm responsible for connecting the communities in and around the coast and islands of Canada’s western seaboard. “All three of our new Salish-class vessels have arrived from Poland, which completes the series build of our newest ships. The Canadian dollar is driving growth and we anticipate that this summer could be one of the busiest on record in the 57-year history of our company.” The new Salish-class vessels put down a real marker for BC Ferries. The dual-fuel ships, which operate on LNG and marine diesel, mean that the company will be significantly reducing its environmental footprint – roughly about 9,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. That’s about 1,900 cars taken off the road completely. “The Salish class are our first LNG vessels and not only are they better for the environment, but in British Columbia, natural gas is approximately 40% less expensive to purchase,” says Marshall. “Using natural gas as the primary fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 15% to 25%, sulphur oxides by more than 85%, nitrogen oxides by more than 50%, and nearly eliminates particulate matter.” Each of the vessels can handle about 145 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew. Given that they include everything from facilities for pets to a children’s play area, the vessels are adequately equipped for the needs of the modern traveller. Whichever way people choose to measure the vessels – be it by the modern conveniences or by the environmental figures – they emphasise the work BC Ferries is doing to not only to raise its green credentials, but also to build for its future. Another example of the company’s forward-thinking ethos was when it took on the new route between Port Hardy, on the northern tip of Vancouver Island, and Bella Coola, on the mid-coast. Due to start service on the route in 2018, BC Ferries has sourced a suitable ship, Aqua Spirit, and is now in the process of refurbishing her. “We will make some modifications to the hull, such as adding a rubbing strake, modifying the stern loading door and landing apron,” Marshall explains. “The interior will be modified by refreshing passenger and crew areas, adding a passenger galley and dining tables, improving accessibility arrangements for mobility restricted customers, as well as some berth modifications at the terminals that this vessel will serve. In addition, as this vessel is focused on tourism, the upper deck outside areas will be rearranged to ensure that good sightlines are provided for passenger viewing.” The tourism that Marshall mentions BC Ferries will be helping to sustainably increase is to Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest, one of the country’s most beautiful landscapes. Given that the service will be able to handle 35 vehicles and 150 passengers, BC Ferries’ role has been crucial – one of the reasons the company decided to discuss the plans in detail with local tourism representatives and first nations was to ensure that the entire operation is beneficial to all concerned parties. ”This summer could be one of the busiest on record in the 57-year history of our company”