Crew illness leaves ferry passengers in Powell River and Comox

Staffing issue results in cancellation of round trip

Cancellation of a Salish Eagle sailing on Saturday, August 10, stranded passengers and vehicles in Powell River and at the Little River terminal near Comox.

The 7:10 pm sailing from Comox and 8:45 pm sailing from Powell River were both cancelled due to a crewing issue on the Salish Eagle.

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Deborah Marshall, executive director, public affairs for BC Ferries, said one of the vessel’s employees took ill and could not be replaced.

“Our crewing department certainly tried their best to replace the worker, but unfortunately, we didn’t have anyone available,” said Marshall. “The employees had worked their overtime and unfortunately, after that, they can’t keep going, so we did have to cancel that last round trip.”

Marshall said BC Ferries is licensed by Transport Canada to carry a certain number of crew and a certain number of passengers.

“If we have crew in those safety-sensitive positions that aren’t available, then unfortunately, we can’t sail,” she added.

For those passengers who were stranded, Marshall said BC Ferries would consider their requests for reimbursement on a case-by-case basis. She said BC Ferries would ask any customers in that situation to contact its customer relations department. Customers can forward receipts to the department for consideration of reimbursement.

“It was certainly unplanned on our part,” said Marshall, “and we apologize to our customers for the inconvenience of having to cancel that last round trip.”

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