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Cancellations ahead: BC Ferries not immune to challenges felt by businesses

Vessel out of rotation for Canada Day long weekend causing 48 lost sailings

Premier David Eby is confident BC Ferries’ recent struggles won’t continue long-term, given its capital plan.

With issues discovered during an annual retrofit of one of its vessels, BC Ferries has been forced to cancel 48 sailings between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen ahead of the Canada Day long weekend.

When asked if he was concerned about the state of BC Ferries, given the cancellations and an earlier infusion of $500 million in provincial funds, Eby said “I don’t find it acceptable but I do understand the challenges.”

BC Ferries, like many businesses, is facing a number of challenges including inflation, supply chain limitations and staff recruitment, he noted, which is impacting its service levels.

“We’re seeing some of these impacts and we’re going to see their impacts this weekend.”

He said it is vital, as a piece of the highway system, that BC Ferries provides the service people deserve and that there is space on vessels for travellers to be able to get where they’re going. While that likely won’t be the case this weekend, he was confident BC Ferries’ capital plan will address many issues, including vessel shortages.

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“Long weekends are important for families to be able to get across to visit relatives, to see people, but of course, day to day our ferry system is so important for the economy of Vancouver Island.”

Eight daily sailings have been scrapped from the schedule for the Coastal Celebration from June 28 to July 3. While pre-bookings were moved to other sailings, BC Ferries warned travellers without reservations to expect waits and long lines during the Canada Day long weekend – one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

The cancellations were caused by issues with the Coastal Celebration’s propulsion systems, discovered during its annual drydock retrofit. The vessel was originally scheduled to be back in service by June 15 but now isn’t expected to be back until July 4, pending final repairs and sea trails.

-With files from Wolfgang Depner

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