Two-ship trial coming for Gabriola ferry route

The Quinsam

220121 – BC Ferries will conduct trials of two-ship service between Nanaimo Harbour and Descanso Bay (Gabriola Island) January 25-27. The Quinsam and the Island Aurora will run the trials with plans to make two ferry service a permanent fixture in the spring. 

Dock fitting will take place January 24 with trial service starting January 25. The trial period will give crews the chance to monitor travel and loading times and validate the schedule for two-ship service.   

During the trial, there is no change to scheduled sailing times although customers will have additional sailing opportunities throughout the day as the Island Aurora will be running opposite the Quinsam. There may be a reduction in the number of pay parking spaces at Nanaimo Harbour to accommodate the additional crew.

BC Ferries understands the importance of providing reliable ferry service, especially for ferry dependent communities and customers who use the ferry system to get to work, school, medical appointments, or to visit family and friends.

For the most up-to-date sailing information, visit BC Ferries’ website or follow @BCFerries on Twitter. To view the status of all routes at a glance, visit https://www.bcferries.com/routes-at-glance.

For the most up to date information about our sailings and service please follow us on Twitter @BCFerries.

B.C. Ferries schedule Monday to Friday, Jan. 28 to Feb. 28

Island Gwawis to serve Gabriola Island this year

BC Ferries revealed the name of its sixth Island Class ferry today at a naming ceremony at Victoria’s Point Hope Maritime. Island Gwawis is the last in this series of Island Class vessels to enter the fleet and will allow for the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route to be serviced by two Island Class vessels.

Gwawis means "raven of the sea" and was selected with input and support from the 'Na̲mg̲is First Nation. It celebrates the cultural connection between the original mariners of the coastal waters and the communities the vessel will soon serve. Today's ceremony began with remarks from BC Ferries, Damen Shipyards and the Province of British Columbia, followed by the unveiling of the ship’s name and the christening of the hull.

"This ship is as much about the relationships we are building as the service it provides," said Mark Collins, President & CEO of BC Ferries. "Together we have delivered six innovative hybrid-electric ferries under the challenges of a global pandemic. Island Gwawis will help move us towards being one of the most sustainable companies in the world while connecting communities along the way.

Island Class ferries have the capacity to carry 47 vehicles and up to 450 passengers and crew. They are battery equipped ships designed for future full electric operation. The ships are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding becomes available in B.C. From the exterior details to the engines, the design of the new vessels reduces underwater radiated noise, lowers emissions and improves customer service.

BC Ferries looks forward to welcoming Island Gwawis into service later this year.

Staffing shortage cancels ferry sailings

Please be advised that the Queen of Coquitlam has cancelled the following sailings for January 11 due to a staffing issue.

Cancelled:
6:15 am departing Horseshoe Bay
8:25 am departing Departure Bay
10:40 am departing Horseshoe Bay
1:00 pm departing Departure Bay
3:45 pm departing Horseshoe Bay
5:55 pm departing Departure Bay

For customers with reservations on the affected sailings, every effort will be made to accommodate them on the next available scheduled sailing. If we are not able to do so, reservations will be refunded.

We apologize for any inconvenience these cancellations may cause you. Your safety is important to us, and we require a specific number of crew members on board the vessel to ensure the safety of our passengers in the unlikely event of an emergency and to comply with Transport Canada regulations. 

Our goal is to inform our customers as early as possible of any changes to our scheduled sailings. We recommend that for the most up-to-date sailing and departure information, our customers also follow @BC Ferries on Twitter, visit our Current Conditions webpage at www.bcferries.com or call us toll free at 1-888-223-3779.
 

For the most up to date information about our sailings and service please follow us on Twitter @BCFerries.

Potential service interruptions due to crew shortages

Like many other transportation providers, BC Ferries is anticipating that a combination of issues may result in unplanned service disruptions on all routes, and particularly on inter-island routes, over the coming months.

There is no single factor driving service interruptions. It is a combination including the 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.

Crewing is a complex, logistical task that considers the individual’s qualifications and the number of skilled mariners required for the various roles onboard each vessel, as well as where they live and work. Regulations require these positions to be filled with the appropriate crew, or the vessel cannot sail. Even a small number of crew that are unavailable to sail can have a significant impact on service if replacements are challenging to find.

To mitigate this risk, BC Ferries relies on staffing pools with crew held in reserve, crosstraining employees so they can be redeployed from one location to another as required, and overtime pay for employees who cover gaps. In the event these mitigations are not successful, the company modifies service.

BC Ferries’ goal is to avoid service disruptions wherever it can; to communicate service disruptions as soon as they become known; and to look for ways to minimize the impact these disruptions have on customers through the use of water taxis or other contracted marine service providers, where these services exist and are available.

BC Ferries understands the importance of providing reliable ferry service, especially for ferry dependent communities and customers who use the ferry system to get to work, school, medical appointments, or to visit family and friends. BC Ferries will do its utmost to avoid and minimize disruption to service, even when faced with a combination of factors. While a route may operate on a modified schedule, no route is expected to be suspended completely.

BC Ferries thanks its customers for continuing to support the ferry system under these more trying times. The company acknowledges and thanks its employees for their willingness to work extra hours and move between positions to ensure the least number of sailings possible are affected.

For the most up-to-date sailing information, visit BC Ferries’ website or follow @BCFerries on Twitter. To view the status of all routes at a glance, visit https://www.bcferries.com/routes-at-glance.

Queen of Alberni in refit until Jan. 17

Queen of New Westminster

The Queen of Alberni is in refit until Jan. 17.  The Queen of New Westminster is the replacement vessel. Commercial operators, note the Queen of New Westminster has a height clearance of 13’8” and width of 12’ as compared to the 14’6” height clearance and width of 14’6" on the Queen of Alberni.

For more information or traffic updates, please follow @BCFerries on Twitter, visit our website at bcferries.com, or call us toll free at 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779).

Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal parkade remains closed

Please be advised that parkade at Horseshoe Bay terminal will not be accessible until further notice due to safety concerns. On January 2, a minor rock slide spilled into the parkade at Horseshoe Bay. One vehicle in the parkade sustained damage. Fortunately there were no injuries. Safety is our highest priority and the parkade has been closed until further notice. 

A rock scaling contractor is on site to install temporary bracing and shoring in the parkade for the damaged portions of the parking garage and then begin scaling the rock face in the vicinity of the parkade.

Geotechnical engineers are surveying other portions of the rock face at Horseshoe Bay to check for potential issues.

Rock scaling is scheduled over the next week, weather dependent.

The terminal remains open, and customer parking is available in the parking lot adjacent to the ticketing and administration building. Customers with vehicles in the parkade are required to check in with the on-site BC Ferries representative to access their vehicle. Access to vehicles in the parkade will be limited Monday-Friday, between 8:00 am - 4:00 pm due to the rock scaling and repair work. It is advisable that customers pick up their vehicles after 4:00 pm on the weekend. 

Customers and neighbours can expect added noise associated with the rock removal and repairs. Noise will be limited to daylight hours.

We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience experienced as a result of the parkade closure and subsequent repairs. Further updates will be provided when available.

To check parking availability at Horseshoe Bay, please visit our Current Conditions webpage.

For the most up to date information about our sailings and service please follow us on Twitter @BCFerries.

Horseshoe Bay terminal parkade damaged in rock slide

220103 - The parkade at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal has been damaged by a rock slide leaving the parkade closed until further notice. At least two columns in the parkade were knocked over. There was minor damage to one vehicle. The shutdown will affect walk-ons heading to Nanaimo from the Lower Mainland. MORE