BC Ferries N-Class

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The N class is a series of four vessels that were owned by BC Ferries. They were built by Marine Shipbuilders Ltd. in Vancouver, BC. between 1960 and 1973.

The N class vessels are some of the smallest vessels owned by BC Ferries. Their vehicle deck consists of three lanes, the middle of which can accommodate overheight vehicles. Two small passenger lounges are situated above each underheight lane. The bridge is situated above the passenger lounges, connecting them together.

With their small size unsuitable for most routes operated by BC Ferries, most of the vessels were put on long-term lease to other companies/organizations, which operated contracted routes. Only the Nimpkish remains both owned and operated by BC Ferries today.

Nicola

Nicola
Spirit of Lax Kw'alaams
Built 1960, Vancouver
Home base Port Simpson
Route(s) served 16

Nicola, also known as Spirit of Lax Kw'alaams, is the first of four N class vessels.

Originally named Quadra Queen, it operated on the route between Campbell River and Quadra Island. Soon overwhelmed by traffic on the route, a new Quadra Queen II was built, and the original vessel was transferred in 1969 to the Quadra Island - Cortes Island route, now renamed Cortes Queen. It was later renamed to Nicola around 1973. Nicola was replaced on its route in 1979 by the newer Nimpkish, at which time Nicola became a spare vessel. In 1985, it joined the BC Ferries fleet in 1985 when all Ministry of Transportation saltwater operations were transferred to BC Ferries.

Nicola is currently owned by BC Ferries, but is leased to Lax Kw'alaams First Nation, who operates the vessel on contracted route 16 (Prince Rupert - Port Simpson).

Engines Max speed Length Displacement Vehicle capacity Passenger capacity
680 hp 10 knots 34.8 m 256 tonnes 16 autos 133


Albert J Savoie

Albert J Savoie
Built 1961, Vancouver
Home base Prince Rupert
Route(s) served None

Albert J Savoie was the second of four N class vessels.

Originally named Garibaldi, it was likely the first vessel to operate the route between Darrell Bay and the Woodfibre pulp mill, after the closing of the company town situated next to the plant. Garibaldi was replaced by Garibaldi II in 1964, and the original vessel was renamed to Westwood. It operated for a period on the Nanaimo Harbour - Gabriola Island route until around 1972, when it was replaced likely by Klatawa. Westwood was later transferred to the Denman Island - Hornby Island route, and renamed Albert J Savoie, who ran an initial ferry service connecting Hornby Island to Denman Island.

After retirement from BC Ferries, Albert J Savoie was sold to Rainy Day Logging in 2002. It was later resold in 2005 to Mountain Marine Transportation, renamed RJ Breadner, and was used as a cargo vessel.[1]

Engines Max speed Length Displacement Vehicle capacity Passenger capacity
680 hp 10 knots 34.8 m 256 tonnes 16 autos 133


Garibaldi II

Garibaldi II
Built 1964, Vancouver
Home base Darrell Bay
Route(s) served 56

Garibaldi II was the third of four N class vessels.

Built for the BC Ministry of Transportation and Highways, Garibaldi II was used exclusively to shuttle workers across Howe Sound from Darrell Bay (outside Squamish) to the Woodfibre pulp mill. Originally designed to hold 16 vehicles, the passenger area was substantially expanded in 1977, as the primary purpose of the vessel was to carry workers. In 1984, operation of the vessel was transferred to Woodfibre, who operated it as a chartered route. Ownership was legally transferred to BC Ferries in 1985 when all Ministry of Transportation saltwater operations were transferred to BC Ferries, although the vessel continued to be chartered and operated by Woodfibre.[2]

After Woodfibre ceased operations in 2006, there was no longer a need to provide service to the plant. Garibaldi II, which had recently been refitted, was sold to Harbour Cruises (by then the operator of the service to Woodfibre), and was put into storage at Allied Shipbuilders in North Vancouver. With the proposal to convert the Woodfibre plant to become an LNG terminal, Garibaldi II may be reactivated to shuttle workers to the terminal once again.

Max speed Length Displacement Vehicle capacity Passenger capacity
10 knots 33.53 m 337 tonnes 7 autos 332


Nimpkish

Nimpkish
Built 1973, Vancouver
Home base Bella Coola
Route(s) served 10

Nimpkish is the fourth and final N class vessel.[3]

Upon entering service, Nimpkish served on the Port McNeill - Alert Bay - Sointula route. After the Island Highway was extended north to Port McNeill in 1979, Nimpkish was replaced by Tenaka. Nimpkish then shifted to the Quadra Island - Cortes Island route, replacing the older Nicola. Nimpkish joined the BC Ferries fleet in 1985 when all Ministry of Transportation saltwater operations were transferred to BC Ferries, and continued operating on route 24 (Quadra Island - Cortes Island).[4]

After being replaced again by Tenaka on route 24 in 1994, Nimpkish became a spare vessel, having too small a capacity for most routes operated by BC Ferries. In 2006, Nimpkish was transferred north to operate on the Discovery Coast Connector route, serving the many small communities between Bella Coola and Bella Bella. For this service, Nimpkish was fitted with a ramp at the rear of the vessel, for serving communities without a loading ramp. Nimpkish became the primary vessel serving these communities after the discontinuation of route 40 (Port Hardy - Bella Coola) in 2014.

Engines Max speed Length Displacement Vehicle capacity Passenger capacity
680 hp 11 knots 33.53 m 371 tonnes 12 autos 95


References

  1. Albert J. Savoie - Photos and Discussion, West Coast Ferries Forum, retrieved 01-22-2017.
  2. Garibaldi II, J. Hammersmark, updated 09-11-2003.
  3. Nimpkish, BC Ferries, retrieved 01-22-2017.
  4. M.V. Nimpkish, www.westcoastferries.com, retrieved 01-22-2017.