BC Ferries cancels at least a dozen sailings, blames lack of staff | CBC News

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At least a dozen BC Ferries sailings along the south coast were canceled Saturday, with the corporation blaming “crew availability” for its continuing problems.

As of noon, 12 sailings had been cancelled. Another nine voyages were at risk of cancellation between Swartz Bay, Mayne Island, Pender Island and Tsawwassen.

BC Ferries later announced modified schedules for Mayne Queen and Salish Heron to help travelers get to their destinations.

The morning cancellations included four voyages between Tsawwassen on the mainland and Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island.

“We require a specific number of crew members on board the ship to ensure the safety of our passengers,” BC Ferries said in a statement. “The decision to cancel a voyage in these circumstances is made when we have exhausted all options to find replacement crew.”

Later Saturday, BC Ferries canceled Sunday and Monday voyages on the Northern Sea Wolf between Bella Coola and Port Hardy due to a mechanical issue with the vessel’s main engine.

Trip cancellations have become commonplace on the BC ferry network this summer, with the high number of cancellations being cited as a reason for the corporation’s CEO being fired at the end of July.

the early edition8:18BC Ferries concludes annual general meeting after a tumultuous summer

Ferry Advisory Committees Chair Diana Mumford talks to Stephen Quinn about what was discussed.

According to the BC Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union, continued staffing shortages on BC Ferries ships have been attributed to crew members falling ill with COVID-19, a lack of hiring, and a lack of qualified crew.

An amendment to the Coastal Ferries Act is currently before the legislature. The amendment would see increased oversight of BC Ferries’ operations. The union has spoken out in support of the legislation in the past.

The ferry corporation told foot passengers at the Swartz Bay terminal that the pay parking facility was full on Saturday afternoon. They were advised to arrive by public transport or by taxi.

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