BC Ferries Dodges Cancellations During Busy Weekend Despite Crew Shortage


Navigating through one of its most hectic weekends, BC Ferries was barely able to escape a series of cancellations on its crucial route this Saturday. On what was one of the service’s most bustling routes, Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay, which connects Metro Vancouver and Greater Victoria, the company announced around noon that it was forced to cancel two sailings.

The company clarified that the cancellation was due to being unable to secure the necessary number of crew members for the 6 p.m. sailing from Tsawwssen and the 8 p.m. return trip from Swartz Bay. In a statement, BC Ferries pledged to either rebook or refund passengers affected by the cancellation, extending an apology for the inconvenience caused.

However, within half an hour, BC Ferries was able to rectify the situation. The earlier staff shortage on the Queen of New Westminster was resolved, allowing the cancellations to be revoked. The company reiterated its appreciation for the patience of its passengers and expressed regret over any inconvenience the earlier cancellations might have caused, saying, “The vessel will sail as scheduled for the remainder of the day.”

The day did bear witness to other cancellations though, with several sailings on the much smaller Saltery Bay near Powell River and Earls Cove on the Sunshine Coast route being discontinued as of 4 p.m. Saturday.

BC Ferries has been under considerable scrutiny this summer, following a chaotic Canada Day long weekend marked by sold-out sailings, delays, and problems with online bookings. This led the Transportation Minister Rob Fleming to label the situation as “unacceptable” and suggest that BC Ferries needed to improve and provide a more dependable service.

Despite the August long weekend, usually the busiest of the year, transpiring without significant problems, BC Ferries is dealing with the breakdown of one of their largest vessels, the Coastal Renaissance. The ship is expected to remain out of service until October which, as stated by BC Ferries’ director of public affairs Deborah Marshall, has impacted around 800 passengers with reservations over the Labour Day long weekend.

The Queen of Alberni, a smaller vessel, has stepped in to substitute the Coastal Renaissance and will continue to do so until Thanksgiving. This change has caused a domino effect, leading to 60 sailing cancellations on routes between Horseshoe Bay and destinations on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. This has affected an additional 800 customers between Labour Day and Thanksgiving.

Despite these difficulties, BC Ferries reported a smooth flow of traffic at major terminals on Saturday, with space available for standby traffic. The ferry service anticipates transporting nearly 200,000 vehicles and 520,000 passengers to their respective destinations between Aug. 31 and Sept. 5.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here