BC Ferries has just confirmed the Northern Sea Wolf will be ready for the 2019 summer season. The vessel, which has faced a series of challenges, has just finished its sea trials and will be making community visits in early June.
All sea trials have now been completed successfully and the ship is in great shape to progress towards going operational,” said Darin Guenette, Manager of Public Affairs with BC Ferries. “We are now in the process of confirming all bookings that had been wait listed on Route 28 sailings beginning June 3. That is, all bookings (past and future) will be accepted to the vehicle capacity level of the Northern Sea Wolf.”
Before this announcement, BC Ferries had only been accepting reservations to the capacity of the Nimpkish, just in case something went wrong during the sea trials.
“Our training and dock fit plan is progressing, with a plan to have the Northern Sea Wolf assume regular ‘mid-Coast connector’ service from the Nimpkish on or around May 18,” said Guenette. “It will serve the Mid-Coast ports until officially beginning Route 28 ‘direct service’ on June 3, with a 7:30 am departure from Bella Coola to Port Hardy.”
Community visits and Open Houses are also being coordinated in all mid-coast communities, with dates being finalized soon where the public will be able to tour the ship.
“In conjunction with the official start of this Route 28 direct service, BC Ferries is coordinating community open house events in both Bella Coola (afternoon of June 2) and Port Hardy (evening of June 3). More on these events as details are finalized, but they will aim to include brief ceremonies to welcome the vessel and opportunities for public to tour the ship,” said Guenette. “Also, we foresee opportunities to allow community members to see the ship during the period when we are taking it into all the terminals to conduct ‘dock fits’. This should be happening in the early May period, but more to follow in the next 10 days or so.”
Bella Coola Valley Tourism president Tom Hermance was delighted with the announcement.
“We are very excited about the new route,” said Hermance. “Here’s to a very successful summer season!”