Three Jumbo ferries to be converted to hybrid-electric power

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Jumbo Mark II-class ferries to be converted to hybrid-electric

Work has begun on the first of three ferries, the Wenatchee, to convert it to hybrid-electric power.

A $100 million contract was awarded to Vigor Marine who will conduct the work to convert the vessels at its Harbor Island shipyard in Seattle.

The $100 million contract covers the conversion of two Jumbo Mark II-class ferries to hybrid-electric power, with a fixed-price option of $50 million to convert the third vessel in 2025. The contract also includes planned replacement of the propulsion control systems, which will increase reliability and the lifespan of the three ferries.

Vigor Marine will modernize the ship’s controls and other outdated systems. These updates will improve reliability and help ensure these 22-year-old ferries serve our communities for decades longer.

The Jumbo Mark II vessels are the largest in WSF’s fleet and produce 26% of WSF’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions. They also serve the most densely populated urban areas in Central Sound.

Vigor Marine has started work on Wenatchee, expected to reenter service next summer. Vigor will also begin converting Tacoma in 2024, with the option to convert Puyallup in 2025.

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) announced that $44.6 million (15.4%) of the $290 million project cost of converting three Washington State Ferries to hybrid-electric propulsion systems will be covered by federal funding that has already been awarded.

“This announcement charts a course for our ferry system to be cleaner, more sustainable, and more reliable, using the world-class labor of Washington’s shipbuilders,” said Sen. Cantwell. 
“Converting the fleet’s three biggest emitters from diesel to hybrid-electric power will drastically reduce emissions and fueling costs. Federal funding to improve our nation's transportation system and fight climate change made this milestone possible, covering a portion of the cost of modernizing these iconic ferries.”

Federal funding for the entire $290 million project is an estimated $44.6 million, 15.4% of the total cost.


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