BC Ferries says a rope may be to blame for a hard landing that injured four passengers and a crew member in the Gulf Islands.

The Queen of Nanaimo slammed into its dock on Mayne Island shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday with about 200 passengers on board.

Ferries' chief operating officer Mike Corrigan says divers found a rope – most likely from crab or prawn traps – tangled around the ship's propellers. The rope may have caused the crew to lose control of the vessel, he said.

An internal investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Officials say the Queen of Nanaimo will be drydocked until Thursday at the earliest as staff conduct an inspection, repairs, and sea trials. The following sailings have been cancelled for Wednesday:

  • Long Harbour to Tsawwassen at 6:15 a.m.
  • Pender Island to Tsawwassen at 7:10 a.m.
  • Mayne Island to Tsawwassen at 7:50 a.m.
  • Galiano to Tsawwassen at 8:35 a.m.
  • Long Harbour to Tsawwassen at 3:25 a.m.
  • Pender Island to Tsawwassen at 4:20 a.m.
  • Tsawwassen to Southern Gulf Islands at 7:40 a.m.

A smaller, 70-car ferry will make one sailing from Tsawwassen at 10:20 Wednesday morning. After that, anyone heading to the Gulf Islands is advised to travel through Swartz Bay or Duke Point.

Officials say the damage caused to the Mayne Island dock will take several weeks to repair, but ferries will continue to dock at a second berth at Village Bay.

With files from The Canadian Press