Service adjustments made to routes 7 (Saltery Bay-Earls Cove) and 3 (Langdale-Horseshoe Bay) by BC Ferries due to expected crewing challenges went into effect today and continue until February 28. A crewing issue also led to a two-hour delay for Salish Orca passengers travelling between Little River and Westview terminals earlier this week.
According to BC Ferries, contributing factors to the service interruptions are the COVID-19 omicron variant’s “potential to impact employee wellness, regular cold and flu season, severe winter storms, vaccination policies that have reduced crew availability and the global shortage of professional mariners making it difficult to hire replacement staff.”
Texada ferry users have also faced disruptions recently, the latest involving a mechanical issue with Island Discovery that led to multiple cancellations on January 25. A water taxi shuttled passengers back and forth, and Salish Orca was diverted in order to make stops at Blubber Bay.
We’re used to sailing cancellations between here and Vancouver/Texada islands due to extreme weather and mechanical difficulties. The geographically protected route to the south is relatively safe from cancellations due to weather, thankfully, and its vessel, Malaspina Sky, has been more durable than Salish and Island-class ships making crossings to and from Westview.
The latest added wrinkle, illness and crewing shortages, affects all routes and is just another aspect to ferry-dependent life on the coast. It’s already a long list. Thanks a lot, COVID-19.
Service adjustments now in effect for routes 3 and 7 are available at bcferries.com/routes-fares/schedules, under Sunshine Coast.