MV Queen of Alberni

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Alberni Outbound Duke Pt.JPG
Queen of Alberni en route to Tsawwassen
Name: Queen of Alberni
Owner: British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.
Operator: British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.
Route: Tsawwassen - Duke Point
Builder: Burrard Yarrows Ltd. (Vancouver)
Completed: 1976
Maiden voyage: 1976
Status: ship in active service
General characteristics
Class and type: C-class RORO ferry
Tonnage: 6,422
Length: 139 m (456 ft)
Installed power: 12,000 hp (8,900 kW)
Propulsion: Two MaK 12M551AK
Speed: 21 knots (39 km/h)
  • 1,200 passengers & crew
  • 295 cars
Notes: Amenities: Coastal Café cafeteria (featuring White Spot burgers and Bread Garden sandwiches), Passages Gift Shop, Video Zone video arcade, elevator, telephones, showers, washroom for people with disabilities, tourist information (brochures)

MV Queen of Alberni is a C-class ferry that operates between Tsawwassen and Duke Point in British Columbia. She is part of the BC Ferries fleet.


Queen of Alberni was built by Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. in North Vancouver, British Columbia in 1976. She joined the other two C-class ferries, Queen of Coquitlam and Queen of Cowichan, that were also built in that year, with the other two C-class ferries, Queen of Surrey and Queen of Oak Bay, joining later.

Queen of Alberni was different from the others, as she only had one car deck designed to carry overheight vehicles. Her lack of an upper car deck put its capacity at 145 overheight vehicles. The ferry's high truck capacity made her a natural for the service's Tsawwassen-Duke Point route (established in 1990 as the Mid-Island Express, running between Tsawwassen and Departure Bay; and later between Tsawwassen and Duke Point), which is intended for a high volume of overheight vehicles. This route is also served by MV Coastal Inspiration, a Coastal-class ferry. In 1984, the ship was stretched and lifted, gaining an upper car deck for non-overheight vehicles, leading to a new vehicle capacity of 292. In 1999, the ship underwent another refit in Victoria.

The ship has a different system of ship evacuation since it carries fewer passengers. All of the lifejackets are stored in large containers scattered throughout the two passenger decks. The ship has three evacuation stations on each side of the top passenger deck, or sun deck. The combined capacity of these six stations is 1,200.

In 2007, Queen of Alberni completed a 40 million dollar mid-life upgrade which will prepare the 31-year-old vessel for another 20 years of service.


The life of Queen of Alberni has seen quite a few mishaps. Only three years after her launch in 1976, the vessel ran aground in Active Pass. Many cars and trucks were damaged when the ship tilted over, and some flipped over completely. There were no major injuries and the only casualty was a racehorse that was being transported. Misfortune struck again in 1989 when ship smashed into the dock at the Departure Bay terminal in Nanaimo. Six people were injured.

Another accident would come on March 12, 1992. At around 8:00am Queen of Alberni left the Tsawwassen terminal with heavy fog and almost zero visibility. The Japanese bulk carrier Shinwa Maru left the Westshore Terminal No. 1 at nearby Roberts Bank, British Columbia at 7:40am. At 8:06am the two ships made contact after seeing each other on radar to arrange a safe passage. At 8:08am the two vessels collided. Queen of Alberni hit Shinwa Maru about 25 metres (82 ft) aft of the bow, 3 metres (9.8 ft) above the waterline, and at a 70-degree angle. Two people aboard Queen of Alberni were seriously injured while none aboard Shinwa Maru were injured. Queen of Alberni had minor damage to the hull and some of the cafeteria equipment was displaced. Shinwa Maru, however, was damaged when the ferry penetrated the #1 cargo hold and ballast tanks.

On December 15, 2001 Queen of Alberni got caught in a heavy wind storm which turned a regular 2-hour crossing into a 7½-hour ordeal.

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