The 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg reached the Pacific Ocean on Friday and was met by a crowd of thousands in Vancouver. While it has been confirmed that she will not be making her way to Vancouver Island, BC Ferries has offered to give Thunberg a tour of their new, cleaner vessels.
Earlier in the week, Thunberg had to clarify that her not visiting Victoria was due to a lack of time, not BC Ferries. Originally, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps had said a city councillor was told the lack of a fossil-fuel-free travel options was the main reason for Thunberg not visiting the Island.
“I don’t know anything about an invitation to Victoria, and I have definitely not declined it because of ‘emissions’ from the public transport ferry,” Thunberg tweeted on Tuesday. “I try to visit as many places as I can, but there’s unfortunately not enough time to visit everywhere.”
BC Ferries replied to her Tweet by telling her about the five ships that run on natural gas and the hybrid electric ferries that will be coming in 2020. An invitation was also extended to Thunberg to tour one of the new ferries.
We know you're really busy but if you have time, we'd love to chat more & give you a tour of one of our new ferries. Here’s some info on how we’re working towards a clean future: https://t.co/NiawWAOiok (2/2)
— BC Ferries (@BCFerries) October 23, 2019
Deborah Marshall, the executive director of public affairs with BC Ferries, confirmed that an invitation was sent to Thunberg but said there has been no word as of yet from the young activist.
“We do appreciate how busy her schedule is,” Marshall said. “Perhaps she can visit us another time.”
BC Ferries currently has Salish Class vessels that are capable of running as dual-fuel on either natural gas or ultra-low sulphur diesel. Marshall said the fuel these vessels run on is cleaner than diesel. The use of natural gas for Salish Class vessels results in the reduction of an estimated 9,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. According to BC Ferries, that would be about the same as taking 1,900 passenger vehicles off the road annually.
The Salish Class ships run from Powell River to Texada Island and on the Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula route.
Battery hybrid-electric vessels will be joining the BC Ferries fleet in 2020. These vessels – called Island Class vessels – will service Powell River – Texada Island, Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula, Campbell River – Quadra Island and Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island. There will be six hybrid-electric ferries in total.
“The intention is to operate them as fully electric once the technology is on the water,” Marshall said.