Official No: 0368934 Place Built: Victoria Builder: Yarrows Ltd. Year Built: 1975 Vehicles: 26 Passengers: 150 Crew: 4 Overall Length: 71.64 m Registered Length: 54.86 m
Length: 54.71 m Breadth: 14.2 m Gross Tons: 347.49 Service Speed: 10 knots Horsepower: 730
Operating on the remotest of all BC Ferries routes, the Kwuna is one of many minor ferries operated by the company. She is categorized as a K-class vessel, making her a sister ship to the BC Ferries ships Klitsa, Kahloke, and Kuper as well as Translink's Kulleet and Klatawa. The Kwuna is easily distinguished from the rest since she is fitted with her own ramps at both ends for loading and discharging vehicle traffic. Her docking procedures are different from anywhere else on the coast. The landing area on either side of the route are not unlike a typical boat ramp for launching boats on trailers. As the ferry approaches the terminal, her ramp is lowered and pushed up the paved landing area.
The Kwuna is the sole ferry operating on Route 26 between Skidegate (Graham Island) and Alliford Bay (Moresby Island). These two large islands make up the largest part of what is known as the Queen Charlotte Islands or Haida Gwaii. Since no other ferry can replace the Kwuna, a tug and barge will provide limited service when she is not available.
The Kwuna was designed by Marine Design Associates Ltd. of Victoria. She was built in 1975 at Yarrow's Shipyard in Victoria for the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Highway and immediately sent to operate between Skidegate and Alliford Bay; a route that the Ministry had taken responsibility for at the same time. In late 1985 the Ministry's saltwater fleet and routes were transferred to BC Ferries. For the Kwuna, however, this had little impact other than a new coat of paint. She has continued to operate on this route to this day.
Origin of Name
Kwuna - Named after Kwuna Point, which is the location of the Alliford Bay terminal. According to Frank Clapp, the name is the Haida word for "point". (Clapp, 78).
For Further Reading
Clapp, Frank. Ministry of Transportation and Highways: Inland and Coastal Ferries. Victoria: Province of British Columbia, 1981. Also 1978 and 1991 editions.
Special thanks to Jim Thorne of Kitimat, BC for permission to use his photos of the Kwuna on this webpage. These photographs are his property and only to be used with his permission. More of his great photography can be seen on Jim's Photobucket Album