Ferry frustrations are mounting on Denman Island, in the wake of a breakdown that left a ferry filled with passengers stranded in the middle of Baynes Sound Friday.
It happened aboard the new Cable Bay ferry that was designed to reduce costs and increase reliability.
Boaters responded to a stranded vessel in Baynes Sound Friday, unlike any they’ve seen before. The new cable ferry, operating on the route between Buckley Bay and Denman Island for just 3 and a half months was crippled mid way stranding 34 passengers and crew, and cutting off a vital transportation link ahead of a busy Friday travel rush
“The ferry’s supposed to have a second re-engine in there and for some reason they’re not managing so the redundancy isn’t working,” says passenger Vali Majd.
Creating long line ups on both sides that local boaters tried to help.
“I guess I’m going to be hauling people to school whatever they have to do, go to a doctor’s appointment,” says boat owner Patrick Russeau.
Meantime the crew aboard the new cable ferry tried to sort out the trouble, that began with passengers emails and calls from the boat describing a fire aboard.
“There was a loud noise and then all the alarms went off and they got us to the front of the boat and there was an oil leak, there was never a fire. It was just an oil leak,” says passenger Leslie Gillette.
The breakdown happened on the 9 am sailing. A hydraulic leak spilling throughout the engine room, setting off alarms, and disabling the vessel. An hour later a boat saddled alongside. Tugging it in, with all the power it can muster.
And when they’re all towed back to Buckley Bay 3 hours later, passengers come off with flattering reviews of how the crew handled the breakdown.
“It was great. We had lots of updates everybody was pretty laid back,” says one passenger unloading from the ferry.
Repairs and an investigation got underway immediately in hopes of having the service resume within hours.
“We want to know exactly what happened and led to the O ring bursting,” says Capt. Jamie Marshall.
But it hasn’t quieted critics who say this failure is unacceptable.
“The execs they’re pumping all this money into a new ferry they still don’t have a proper emergency plan,” says Majd.
Six hours later service resumed for lined up passengers, but not before refuelling a controversy over the new ferry in the process.