BC Ferries pulls another vessel from service due to mechanical issue
A crew member walks on the vehicle deck of the BC Ferries' vessel Island Sky while travelling on the waters off the Sunshine Coast, from Saltery Bay to Earls Cove, B.C., on Friday March 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Published Wednesday, July 11, 2018 4:26PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 11, 2018 5:08PM PDT
Just days after the repairs were finished on a vessel serving Vancouver and Victoria, BC Ferries has had to dock another of its fleet due to a mechanical issue.
The Queen of Alberni, which runs between Tsawwassen and Duke Point, has an exhaust leak in one of its engines and needs urgent repairs.
As a result, the vessel was pulled from service Wednesday afternoon.
The Queen of New Westminster – the ferry that was just repaired after issues resulted in eight cancelled sailings Sunday and Monday – will be redeployed to service the Vancouver-Nanaimo route later in the day, BC Ferries said.
It will make the trip to Nanaimo after finishing its final scheduled sailing on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route.
As a result, the planned 8:15 p.m. sailing to Duke Point will be delayed until 10:15 p.m. From Nanaimo, the 10:45 p.m. sailing back to Tsawwassen will be delayed until 12:45 a.m.
The other vessel that services the route will sail as scheduled from Duke Point at 8:15 p.m. and from Tsawwassen at 10:45 p.m.
But two sailings will be cancelled Thursday with the Queen of Alberni out of service: The 5:15 a.m. from Tsawwassen and the 7:45 a.m. from Duke Point.
"We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience you may experience as a result of these sailing delays and cancellations," BC Ferries said in a statement.
"We are working to resolve the issue and we will keep you informed as soon as more information becomes available."
Anyone with questions or concerns is asked to visit the ferry service's website or call 1-888-223-3779.
The Queen of Alberni is a 42-year-old, 139-metre-long vessel that can carry 1,200 passengers and crew, and about 280 vehicles.
The 54-year-old Queen of New Westminster is of a similar size with a slightly smaller vehicle capacity and can carry 1,332 passengers and crew members at a time. It required repair to one of its pitch propellers over the weekend.
BC Ferries has also recently had issues with the Coastal Inspiration, the ship also assigned to the Vancouver-Nanaimo route. The decade-old vessel needed repairs that were scheduled to take place over a weekend in June, but the repairs were delayed and it was still out of service the next weekend.
It was meant to help shuttle those getting away for the Canada Day long weekend between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay, but the repairs to a propeller hub were delayed and some travellers had their reservations cancelled.
At the time, a spokesperson for BC Ferries said the company knows passengers are frustrated and stressed the importance of showing up early, especially when there are issues. She said they're working on a "master plan for the customer experience," but would not provide further details.
Premier John Horgan acknowledged the public's calls for newer vessels last week.
"This ferry corporation has an obligation to meet the needs of the travelling public," he said.
"We have a review of BC Ferries underway right now, and we're expecting a report back to the Ministry of Transportation in the next number of weeks."
Meanwhile, customers have been paying more for the service since the end of June due to the removal of fuel rebates. Added costs vary, but it amounts to an extra 50 cents for walk-on passengers and $1.70 for vehicles on major routes.