BC Ferries Names Sixth Island Class Ferry

Island Gwawis
Island Gwawis
The ferry Island Gwawis shortly after being unveiled at a naming ceremony held at Point Hope Maritime in Victoria, British Columbia in January 2022. Photo courtesy BC Ferries.

In a nod to the ‘Namgis First Nation, BC Ferries has named its newest Island Class vessel Island Gwawis.

The name was announced at a recent event at Victoria’s Point Hope Maritime, which also drew representatives from Damen Shipyards and the Province of British Columbia.

Gwawis, which translates to “raven of the sea,” honors the ‘Namgis First Nation and the “cultural connection between the original mariners of the coastal waters and the communities the vessel will soon serve,” according to BC Ferries.

As the sixth and last in the Island Class series vessels to join the fleet, Island Gwawis is expected to go into service later this year and would be one of two Island Class vessels working the Nanaimo Harbour–Gabriola Island route. The ferry is able to accommodate 47 vehicles and as many as 450 passengers and crew members.

“This ship is as much about the relationships we are building as the service it provides,” BC Ferries President and CEO Mark Collins said. “Together we have delivered six innovative hybrid-electric ferries under the challenges of a global pandemic. Island Gwawis will help move us towards being one of the most sustainable companies in the world while connecting communities along the way.”

By Karen Robes Meeks