VICTORIA -- A new liquified natural gas (LNG)-fuelled BC Ferries vessel is currently under construction in Poland, before it eventually makes its way to B.C. for service in the province’s Southern Gulf Islands.

The LNG-powered Salish Class vessel is the fourth of its kind for the company, and made its first entry onto water this past weekend at Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk, Poland.

The 107-metre-long ferry can carry up to 600 passengers and crew and at least 138 vehicles, according to BC Ferries.

The vessel is capable of using LNG or ultra-low sulphur diesel, which produces less emissions than other types of fuel and results in reduced costs for BC Ferries.

The ferry is scheduled to begin sea trials in 2021 before heading to British Columbia in early 2022. Once it is in service, the vessel will replace the current Mayne Queen ferry, which runs on diesel.

BC Ferries also plans to commission an artist in partnership with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council to create a design for the new LNG ferry before passengers step aboard.

Last week, BC Ferries’ fourth hybrid electric vessel also touched water for the first time in Romania, marking a milestone in the ferry’s construction.

For both vessels, BC Ferries accepted bids for construction contracts beginning in July 2018. In total, 16 international shipyards placed a bid. No Canadian companies submitted a bid.