Shipping delays and major stoppages at terminals caused by police incident on BC Ferries vessel

BC Ferries is advising travelers without reservations to avoid departing Tsawwassen on Friday due to significant delays caused after one man was arrested and another went missing following a disruption on the Coastal Inspiration on Thursday evening.

The 3:15 p.m., 5:45 p.m., 8:15 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. Coastal Inspiration and Coastal Renaissance cruises from Tsawwassen (Vancouver) and Duke Point (Nanaimo) have been canceled for Friday, August 26. Several other departures, including the 8 a.m. departure from Tsawwassen, 5:15 a.m. from Duke Point and 5:15 a.m. from Tsawwassen, have already experienced significant delays, respectively 56 minutes, 134 minutes and 156 minutes late.

There were also significant traffic volumes at the Tsawwassen Terminal, with departures between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay (Victoria) and Tsawwassen and the Southern Gulf Islands delayed accordingly.

Deborah Marshall, media spokesperson for BC Ferries, said in an interview that those without reservations planning to travel through any of BC Ferries’ main terminals, including Horseshoe Bay, should consider to travel on foot or to wait until tomorrow.

“I wouldn’t suggest going to Horseshoe Bay if you don’t have a reservation, the terminal is extremely busy. If customers want to go to the mainland, look carefully at our current terms,” ​​she said.

Additionally, there are major stops on the Pat Bay Highway leading to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal on southern Vancouver Island due to delays and cancellations.

READ ALSO: 1 arrested, 1 missing following ‘disruption’ on BC Ferries ship

At 8.15pm on Thursday, the Coastal Inspiration sailing from Duke Point to Tsawwassen was forced to turn back due to a disruption. One person was eventually arrested by officers, who boarded the vessel on its return to Duke Point.

Another person was missing, but Nanaimo RCMP provided an update Friday afternoon that the person was found safely around noon and the vehicle belonging to him, seized by police after being left on the ship, had been returned.

Marshall said the whole ordeal has caused crew shortages and delays that have had a major “ripple effect” across BC Ferries’ network. She said customers should expect delays throughout Friday.

“We expect to be extremely busy on the crossings between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island for the rest of the day. What we have seen is overflow traffic on the mainland. Traffic is moving to the Horseshoe Bay Terminal on its way to Departure Bay,” she said.

The two vessels – the Coastal Inspiration and the Coastal Renaissance – which operate the Duke Point-Tsawwassen route ran extremely late last night following the incident, causing crews to work longer hours than usual and miss their scheduled afternoon shifts, according to Marshall.

“They were the crew that was supposed to crew the ships today and we had to pull them because obviously they need enough rest,” Marshall said.

These two coastal class vessels require a minimum of 33 crew members to operate. Marshall said that with 66 crew requiring rest, BC Ferries simply did not have enough crew on standby to bring in on such short notice, which is why afternoon sailings on the Duke Point-Tsawwassen route have been cancelled.

“We don’t have the resilience to replace 66 people in such short notice,” she said.

Previous crossings on the Duke Point route were able to continue because BC Ferries had a “new” group of crew members scheduled to work morning errands, Marshall said.

Another problem has been the massive volume of traffic at the Tsawwassen Terminal, which has caused BC Ferries crews to try to work their shifts for other late crossings.

“Because there was so much traffic there at the start of the day that not only were customers having problems getting to the terminal, but our teams were using the same road network, so they were having problems getting to work. on time,” Marshall said.

That, Marshall said, caused delays on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route as well as others throughout Friday.

“We have four ships operating between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay, but several of those ships are behind schedule,” Marshall said. “Our crews I know they are trying to maximize the number of cars we put on each ship due to the ripple effect with the cancellations on the Duke Point race we are trying to move as many customers as we can. ”

BC Ferries said its customer services team will contact customers with bookings on canceled sailings to let them know that their booking should be canceled and fees/fares will be refunded. Up-to-date sailing and departure information is available online here.

This is a developing story and will be updated when more information becomes available.

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