BC Ferries announced the names of three planned new vessels Tuesday.

‘Salish’ names for new BC Ferries honour aboriginal heritage

Salish Orca, Salish Raven and Salish Eagle will be names of three new dual-fuel vessels that can run on LNG or diesel

Three new BC Ferries vessels that start arriving next year will bear the names Salish Orca, Salish Raven and Salish Eagle.

The names announced Tuesday in Victoria honour the aboriginal heritage of the Coast Salish people and the Salish Sea through which the vessels will sail.

The Salish Orca is to begin service in late 2016 on the Comox-Powell River run, while the Salish Eagle and Salish Raven begin carrying passengers in early- to mid-2017 on the Southern Gulf Islands route.

The three intermediate class vessels replace the Queen of Nanaimo and the Queen of Burnaby, which began service in the mid-1960s.

The new ferries are being built in Poland by Remontowa Shipbuilding at a cost of $165 million.

They’ll be the first dual-fuel ferries in the fleet, able to run on either liquefied natural gas or diesel for propulsion and power generation.

Coast Salish artisans will design artwork for the exterior and interior of the vessels to showcase aboriginal culture.

The names were chosen as part of a contest that drew more than 7,000 entries, along with satirical ones that lampooned BC Ferries’ challenges on social media.

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