NORTH VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C. – BC Ferries will be launching a new line of vessels for Vancouver Island in 2020.

The new ships will be called Island-class and will be an upgrade to the current ferries in service.

Executive Director Deborah Marshall says the ferries will be introduced next year.

“The first one will go on the Texada-Powell river route, and the second vessel will start sailing between Port McNeil, Alert Bay and Sointula,” said Marshall.

The ships are currently under construction and no date is scheduled for when they will be in service.

The new ferry will be able to hold 47 vehicles, an upgrade from the current 26 on the Alert Bay-Sointula-Port McNeil route.

It will also feature a battery hybrid electric system, which Marshall says will be much better for the environment.

Marshall added that BC Ferries also plans to add four sister ships once the initial vessels are introduced.

“We’re also looking at building four more of these Island-class vessels, we’d be looking to deploy two of them on the Campbell-Quadra Island run, and then the other two between Gabriel Island and Nanaimo Harbour.”