A new mid-coast ferry taking passengers on a route from Port Hardy to Bella Coola has been named the Northern Sea Wolf.
The name was selected after a community engagement process with representatives from local First Nations, Ferry Advisory Committee members, BC Ferries employees and the Mid – Coast Ferry Working Group.
“We are very excited for the future of the tourism industry from the North Island to the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region of B.C,” said Pat Corbett, Co-Chair of the B.C. Mid-Coast Ferry Working Group and a member of the naming task force, in an Aug. 30 press release. “The Northern Sea Wolf will fuel economic development and job creation in First Nation and other communities across the interior,” she added.
“It will be a benefit for residents as well because they will have direct service to Port Hardy,” said Deborah Marshall, Executive Director of Public Affairs for BC Ferries. “It also benefits residents because tourism can help businesses and open up opportunities,” added Marshall.
Currently, passengers traveling to Port Hardy from Bella Coola have to transfer to another vessel in order to complete the trip.
The Northern Sea Wolf will begin regular service starting summer 2018.
BC Ferries acquired the Northern Sea Wolf in Greece and the vessel will undergo upgrades before and after its scheduled arrival in B.C. this fall.
“We engaged the community to select a name for the vessel that reflects the region and celebrates the cultural heritage of local First Nations,” said Janet Carson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Marketing.
The Nuxalk Nation, Heiltsuk Nation, and the Aboriginal Association of B.C. were consulted during the community engagement sessions in June.
BC Ferries said the name was inspired by a First Nations legend in which the Sea Wolf is a manifestation of the Orca that protects those traveling their waters and is a symbol of family loyalty.
“Ensuring a steady flow of tourists experiencing the Great Bear Rainforest can only be done with the help of BC Ferries and the B.C. Government, and we are thrilled at the new vessel becoming a permanent part of the transportation infrastructure of the Central Coast of B.C,” said Corbett.
The Northern Sea Wolf was built in 2000 and will accommodate a minimum of 35 vehicles and 150 passengers and crew. The amenities will include hot food service, a passenger lounge, outdoor seating area, washrooms and an elevator.
Sailings will depart from Port Hardy and Bella Coola five days per week during peak season.