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Island Kwigwis, ‘eagle of the sea,’ to begin Nanaimo-Gabriola service in the new year

BC Ferries announces name of new Island Class vessel
Chief Bill Cranmer of ‘Na̲mg̲is First Nation, BC Ferries planning and business advisor Linda Provost and BC Ferries president and CEO Mark Collins at a ceremony revealing the name of one of the new hybrid ferries that will service the Nanaimo-Gabriola route starting next year. (Photo submitted)

A vessel set to ferry residents to and from Nanaimo Harbour and Gabriola Island has been christened.

In a press release, BC Ferries said one of two new Island Class ferries is named Island Kwigwis, or “eagle of the sea,” a name chosen with the blessing from ‘Namgis First Nation, celebrating “the beauty of the journey and the important connection to coastal communities.”

Island Kwigwis can carry up to 47 vehicles and 450 passengers and crew, said the press release. While battery powered, the ferry has potential to be converted to full electric operation in the future and comes with hybrid technology that will power the vessel until proper infrastructure can be installed. From the exterior details to the engine, the design reduces underwater noise and lowers emissions, the press release said.

A ceremony was held Dec. 14, attended by Chief Bill Cranmer of ‘Namgis First Nation.

“Island Kwigwis represents a small step on the path to fostering our relationships with First Nations, embracing our environmental responsibilities, while maintaining our commitment to the communities we serve,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries president and CEO. “This ship will connect people and we are grateful for the opportunity to make that happen.”

Island Kwigwis is set to begin service in the new year.

READ ALSO: Wearing masks mandatory on BC Ferries vessels

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