Two brand new electric ferries meant to be used in the Kingston region will be passing by their final destinations over the next week, but still have a ways to go before they are fully operational.
The Wolfe Islander IV is scheduled to arrive in Picton Friday, while the Amherst Islander II is meant to arrive next week, but that all depends on seaway inspections, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) says.
Both fully electric ships were built in Romania by Dutch company Damen Shipyards, and departed for the Kingston region Sept. 27.
The current Wolfe Island ferry has been on the water since 1973, and can hold about 55 vehicles.
It will be replaced by a much larger, zero-emission, electric ferry able to accommodate just over 80 cars and nearly 400 passengers.
As for the new Amherst Island ferry, it is also an electric, zero-emission vessel that will hold 300 passengers and 42 cars.
According to a recent blog post from Damen Shipyards, both vessels “have twin diesel generators installed to allow hybrid and full diesel propulsion for maximum redundancy.”
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The MTO says the two vessels will tentatively pass through Kingston Wednesday as they make their way to the Picton Terminals where they will be stored until they are ready to service the Kingston region next year.
The company that built the ships says although the ferries are ready to go, the four corresponding docks are currently being kitted up with a unique charging system that will be completed by 2022.
“This will enable them to recharge their batteries while loading and unloading between the short crossings to and from the islands,” the company’s blog post said.
The company is also working through building six ferries slated for British Columbia.
The MTO could not confirm the exact time the vessels will arrive in Picton, but said as of Wednesday morning, both ferries remain in Quebec, where they docked after their long trip across the pond.
During their stay at the Picton Terminals, the two new ferries will make their way out onto the water for crew training before being brought to Kingston in 2022.
Damen Shipyards estimates that each year, one million passengers and 500,000 vehicles travel on the Wolfe Island ferry and 270,000 passengers and 130,000 vehicles travel on Amherst Island ferry.
— with files from Global News’ Alexandra Mazur