Difference between revisions of "BC Ferries C-Class"

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The Cowichan class vessels were the highest capacity vessels at the time for BC Ferries, built to accommodate increasing ridership, and to carry larger volumes of vehicles than existing ships. They were also the first large double-ended ferries built for BC Ferries. Being double-ended, they do not need to turn around in harbours, providing for faster arrival/departures at terminals.
 
The Cowichan class vessels were the highest capacity vessels at the time for BC Ferries, built to accommodate increasing ridership, and to carry larger volumes of vehicles than existing ships. They were also the first large double-ended ferries built for BC Ferries. Being double-ended, they do not need to turn around in harbours, providing for faster arrival/departures at terminals.
  
The larger Cowichan class vessels are not as maneuverable as previous ships, which was demonstrated by the grounding of Queen of Alberni in 1979. After the grounding, Cowichan class vessels were required to operate in the slower but more maneuverable "docking" mode when transiting through Active Pass, which makes it unfeasible to operate on routes that use Active Pass. As such, they are now primarily found on routes 2, 3, and 30.
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The larger Cowichan class vessels are not as maneuverable as previous ships, which was demonstrated by the grounding of Queen of Alberni in 1979. After the grounding, Cowichan class vessels were required to operate in the slower but more maneuverable "docking" mode when transiting through Active Pass, which makes it unfeasible to operate on routes that use Active Pass. As such, they are now primarily found on routes 2, 3, and 30, BC Ferries has said that none of these vessels will operate on route 1.
  
 
The first three vessels (Queen of Coquitlam, Queen of Cowichan, Queen of Alberni) replaced four second-hand vessels: [[BC Ferries Sunshine Coast Queen|Sunshine Coast Queen]], [[BC Ferries Sechelt Queen|Sechelt Queen]], [[BC Ferries Langdale Queen|Langdale Queen]], and the original [[BC Ferries Queen of the North|Queen of Surrey]], the latter of which was refitted to become Queen of the North. No vessels were directly retired by the final two vessels built (Queen of Surrey and Queen of Oak Bay), although they did allow for service expansion.
 
The first three vessels (Queen of Coquitlam, Queen of Cowichan, Queen of Alberni) replaced four second-hand vessels: [[BC Ferries Sunshine Coast Queen|Sunshine Coast Queen]], [[BC Ferries Sechelt Queen|Sechelt Queen]], [[BC Ferries Langdale Queen|Langdale Queen]], and the original [[BC Ferries Queen of the North|Queen of Surrey]], the latter of which was refitted to become Queen of the North. No vessels were directly retired by the final two vessels built (Queen of Surrey and Queen of Oak Bay), although they did allow for service expansion.

Latest revision as of 04:38, 16 August 2019

The Cowichan class, also known as the "C" class, is a series of 5 vessels owned and operated by BC Ferries.

While all 5 vessels share the same hull and engines/propulsion equipment, there are large differences between their superstructures: Queen of Alberni was originally built as a single-deck vessel with the primary purpose of carrying overheight vehicles; it was raised in 1984 to add an upper underheight vehicle deck, more closely matching the capacity of the other Cowichan class vessels. The last two vessels were built in 1981, 5 years after the first three, and have larger passenger areas that extend further along the length of the ship. Like the Victoria class before it, construction of the Cowichan class was split between the Vancouver Shipyard/Burrard Drydock in Vancouver, and Yarrows Ltd. in Victoria.

The Cowichan class vessels were the highest capacity vessels at the time for BC Ferries, built to accommodate increasing ridership, and to carry larger volumes of vehicles than existing ships. They were also the first large double-ended ferries built for BC Ferries. Being double-ended, they do not need to turn around in harbours, providing for faster arrival/departures at terminals.

The larger Cowichan class vessels are not as maneuverable as previous ships, which was demonstrated by the grounding of Queen of Alberni in 1979. After the grounding, Cowichan class vessels were required to operate in the slower but more maneuverable "docking" mode when transiting through Active Pass, which makes it unfeasible to operate on routes that use Active Pass. As such, they are now primarily found on routes 2, 3, and 30, BC Ferries has said that none of these vessels will operate on route 1.

The first three vessels (Queen of Coquitlam, Queen of Cowichan, Queen of Alberni) replaced four second-hand vessels: Sunshine Coast Queen, Sechelt Queen, Langdale Queen, and the original Queen of Surrey, the latter of which was refitted to become Queen of the North. No vessels were directly retired by the final two vessels built (Queen of Surrey and Queen of Oak Bay), although they did allow for service expansion.

Queen of Coquitlam

Queen of Coquitlam
BC Ferries Queen of Coquitlam-b.jpg
Built 1976, Vancouver
Home base Langdale (summer),
Departure Bay (off-peak)
Route(s) served 3 (summer),
2, 3 (replacement)

Queen of Coquitlam is the first Cowichan class vessel built for BC Ferries.[1]

Upon entering service, the vessel was placed on route 2 (Horseshoe Bay - Departure Bay), as the primary vessel out of Horseshoe Bay Bay, opposite its twin vessel Queen of Cowichan.[2] In 1981, newly delivered Queen of Oak Bay replaced it as the primary vessel out of Horseshoe Bay. Queen of Coquitlam then became a backup vessel, providing supplemental sailings out of Departure Bay.

Queen of Coquitlam was the prototype vessel for the midlife refurbishment of the Cowichan class, returning to service in 2003. It was initially hampered by mechanical issues and capacity issues caused by its new evacuation slides, which was later sorted out.[3] After refurbishment, it became the primary vessel on route 2 again, until once again being replaced by Queen of Oak Bay after it returned from its midlife refurbishment in 2006. Currently, Queen of Coquitlam provides secondary sailings on route 3 out of Langdale during the summer months; during the rest of the year, it provides supplemental sailings on route 2, and replaces other Cowichan class vessels for refits or repairs.

Engines Max speed Length Displacement Vehicle capacity Passenger capacity
Two MaK 12M551AK
11,860 hp
20.5 knots 139 m 6,465 tonnes 360 autos
12 semis
1,494


Queen of Cowichan

Queen of Cowichan
BC Ferries Queen of Cowichan-b.jpg
Built 1976, Victoria
Home base Departure Bay
Route(s) served 2

Queen of Cowichan is the 2nd Cowichan class vessel built for BC Ferries.[4]

Upon entering service, Queen of Cowichan was placed on route 2 (Horseshoe Bay - Departure Bay) as the primary vessel out of Departure Bay, opposite its twin vessel Queen of Coquitlam.[2] In 1981, newly delivered Queen of Surrey replaced it, and Queen of Cowichan was shifted to route 3 (Horseshoe Bay - Langdale), where it operated until March 1996, being replaced again by Queen of Surrey.

After being relieved of operation on route 3, Queen of Cowichan then had a minor refit done, and was moved back to Departure Bay to operate as the primary vessel on route 2. It became the secondary vessel out of Departure Bay when the PacifiCat class operated from 1999-2000. Currently, Queen of Cowichan handles secondary sailings out of Departure Bay on route 2 during summer months, and replaces Coastal Renaissance as the primary vessel during the off-peak season.[5]

Queen of Cowichan was the 2nd vessel to receive its midlife refurbishment, returning to service in June 2004.

Engines Max speed Length Displacement Vehicle capacity Passenger capacity
Two MaK 12M551AK
11,860 hp
20.5 knots 139 m 6,508 tonnes 360 autos
12 semis
1,494


Queen of Alberni

Queen of Alberni
BC Ferries Queen of Alberni-a.jpg
Built 1976, Vancouver
Home base Tsawwassen
Route(s) served 30

Queen of Alberni is the 3rd Cowichan class vessel built for BC Ferries.[6]

Unlike the other Cowichan class vessels built at the same time, Queen of Alberni was of a very different design. Originally intended to carry only semi-truck traffic between Vancouver and Victoria, it was designed to only have one larger vehicle deck. This lead to a much lower vehicle capacity of 145 vehicles, but it could carry double the amount of semi-trucks. Queen of Alberni was placed into service on route 1 (Tsawwassen - Swartz Bay).[7]

On August 9, 1979, Queen of Alberni ran aground near Galiano Island at the entrance to Active Pass. The vessel tipped almost 30 degrees, and although all passengers were evacuated safely, there was major damage to the vehicles stored on its deck, and a racehorse being transported needed to be euthanized. After the accident, the Cowichan class was restricted to operating in "docking" mode through Active Pass, which is slower but more maneuverable. Because of the limitations of operating on route 1, Queen of Alberni was later transferred to be a secondary vessel on route 2 (Horseshoe Bay - Departure Bay) out of Departure Bay.

To increase the vehicle capacity of Queen of Alberni, it was lifted in 1984 to have an upper vehicle deck inserted for underheight vehicles. The passenger areas were also expanded at this time. By the mid-1980s, its lower vehicle capacity and odd configuration lead to it becoming a spare vessel, operating on routes 2, and 3 when replacing another vessel. With the introduction of the new Mid-Island Express route 30 (Tsawwassen - Duke Point) in 1991, Queen of Alberni was deemed to be a perfect fit, as the new route was expected to have a high volume of truck traffic. Queen of Alberni was assigned to Departure Bay (later Duke Point). It was switched to the opposite terminal, Tsawwassen, when Coastal Inspiration entered service in 2008.

Queen of Alberni was the last Cowichan class vessel to undergo its midlife refurbishment, returning to service in June 2007.

Engines Max speed Length Displacement Vehicle capacity Passenger capacity
Two MaK 12M551AK
12,000 hp
21 knots 139 m 6,422 tonnes 290 autos
24 semis
1,200


Queen of Surrey

Queen of Surrey
BC Ferries Queen of Surrey-a.jpg
Built 1981, Vancouver
Home base Langdale
Route(s) served 3

Queen of Surrey is the 4th Cowichan class vessel built for BC Ferries, and the first of two built in 1981.[8]

Upon entering service in 1981, Queen of Surrey was placed on route 2 (Horseshoe Bay - Departure Bay) as the primary vessel out of Departure Bay, opposite its twin vessel Queen of Oak Bay. In March 1996, Queen of Surrey was moved to Langdale to operate on route 3 (Horseshoe Bay - Langdale), replacing Queen of Cowichan.[2] It has been the year-round vessel on route 3 ever since.

Queen of Surrey suffered a severe engine fire on May 17, 2003; it had to be rescued by the nearby Queen of Capilano, who prevented it from drifting into a nearby island, and towed it to Langdale to offload. The fire caused significant damage to the engine, and repairs were necessary to the floor of the main car deck. No passengers or vehicles were damaged in the fire, however, and the vessel returned to service a few months later.

Queen of Surrey was the 4th Cowichan class vessel to receive its mid-life refurbishment, returning to service in June 2006.[9]

Engines Max speed Length Displacement Vehicle capacity Passenger capacity
Two MaK 12M551AK
11,860 hp
20.5 knots 139 m 6,556 tonnes 360 autos
12 semis
1,494


Queen of Oak Bay

Queen of Oak Bay
BC Ferries Queen of Oak Bay-c.jpg
Built 1981, Victoria
Home base Horseshoe Bay
Route(s) served 2

Queen of Oak Bay is the 5th and final Cowichan class vessel built for BC Ferries.[10]

Upon entering service in 1981, it was briefly operated on route 1 (Tsawwassen - Swartz Bay), before being moved to route 2 (Horseshoe Bay - Departure Bay) as the primary vessel out of Horseshoe Bay, opposite its twin vessel Queen of Surrey.[2][11] It continues to serve in this role to this day.

Queen of Oak Bay was the 3rd Cowichan class vessel to receive its midlife refurbishment, returning to service in June 2005.

On June 30th, 2005, less than two weeks after returning from refurbishment, Queen of Oak Bay lost power four minutes before docking at Horseshoe Bay. The vessel crashed into nearby Sewell's Marina, damaging more than two dozen small craft and was grounded on the shore receiving minor damage. The cause was a missing cotter pin in one engine, causing it to increase in speed until tripping a fail-safe governor.[12] The vessel was repaired quickly, and returned to service on July 8, 2005.

Engines Max speed Length Displacement Vehicle capacity Passenger capacity
Two MaK 12M551AK
11,840 hp
20.5 knots 139 m 6,673 tonnes 360 autos
12 semis
1,494


References

  1. Queen of Coquitlam, BC Ferries, retrieved 01-15-2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Route 2 1970's timeline, West Coast Ferries Forum, retrieved 01-14-2017.
  3. M.V. Queen of Coquitlam, www.westcoastferries.com, retrieved 01-15-2017.
  4. Queen of Cowichan, BC Ferries, retrieved 01-15-2017.
  5. M.V. Queen of Cowichan, www.westcoastferries.com, retrieved 01-15-2017.
  6. Queen of Alberni, BC Ferries, retrieved on 01-15-2017.
  7. M.V. Queen of Alberni, www.westcoastferries.com, retrieved 01-15-2017.
  8. Queen of Surrey, BC Ferries, retrieved on 01-15-2017.
  9. M.V. Queen of Surrey, www.westcoastferries.com, retrieved 01-15-2017.
  10. Queen of Oak Bay, BC Ferries, retrieved 01-15-2017.
  11. M.V. Queen of Oak Bay, www.westcoastferries.com, retrieved 01-15-2017.
  12. Report M05W0111, Transportation Safety Board of Canada, retrieved 01-15-2017.