|The Century Class
The MV Skeena Queen is a ferry built in 1997 and named after the Skeena River. It was intended to be part of a class of spartan, utilitarian ferries, in the "Century ferry class", designed
by McLaren and Sons naval architects. In 1994 the 10 year plan of BC Ferries called for construction of three Century class ferries, to service the busier Gulf Island routes in British
Columbia operated by BC Ferries. The name for the class was derived from the capacity, which is approximately 100 cars. However, the only ferry of the class actually built was the
Skeena Queen. It runs solely on the Swartz Bay-Saltspring Island (at Fulford Harbour) route (except for a brief four-day trial on the Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island run from April 23 to
April 26, 1998).
There is some speculation as to why the other two vessels in the class were not built. The obvious reason is that the high speed ferry program consumed all available funds. Others point
to the problems with the four owner selected main propulsion engines that plagued the Skeena Queen following commission, including excessively high noise levels and cylinder
counterbore cracking in the high-speed engines. On April 15, 2002 Skeena Queen was removed from service and its four high-speed Mitsubishi S12R diesel engines were replaced with
four Mitsubishi medium-speed engines, model S6U. The new engines were provided by Mitsubishi at a never disclosed price.
The Skeena Queen has very little cabin space because the Century ferry class was intended to be used on short commuter runs of less than a half hour duration where most of the
passengers stay in their vehicles. The Skeena Queen operates solely on the route between Swartz Bay and Fulford Harbour, which is a 20 minute crossing.
Official Number 0819521 Year Built 1996 Ship Name SKEENA QUEEN Port of Registry VICTORIA General Statistics Vessel Type FERRY - PASSENGER/VEHICLE
Gross Tonnage 2,652.00 t Net Tonnage 795.00 t Construction Type MOULDED Ship Length 105.60 m Construction Material STEEL Ship Breadth 23.45 m Ship Depth 5.35 m
Engine Description DIESEL Number of Engines 4 Propulsion Type SELF-PROPELLED Speed (knots) 18.0 Propulsion Method QUAD. SCREW Propulsion Power 5576 Unit
of Power BRAKE HORSEPOWER
Builder Name ALLIED SHIPBUILDERS LTD.