One person was arrested and another person who was unaccounted for following an incident onboard a BC Ferries vessel Thursday night has been found.
Nanaimo RCMP told CHEK News that officers responded to the Coastal Inspiration at around 9:45 p.m. after receiving reports of a disturbance onboard. The vessel, which had left Duke Point bound for Tsawwassen at 8:15 p.m., was forced to turn around due to a “vehicle passenger who was acting erratic and causing concern for crew and passengers.”
When officers boarded the vessel, they found one person “heavily intoxicated by drugs” and arrested them for causing a disturbance. Another passenger, who was travelling with the arrested individual in a vehicle, could not be located, triggering an investigation and search.
Gary O’Brien, media spokesperson for the Nanaimo RCMP, said the arrested person travelled in a vehicle with another person. He said, as a result, the vehicle they were travelling in was seized by officers.
“We recognize that a large police presence on board the ferry may have caused some concern for passengers,” he added.
CCTV camera footage appeared to show the missing man possibly walking off the ferry when it returned to Nanaimo, and then getting into a taxi and leaving the terminal, according to O’Brien.
O’Brien said both passengers were known to each other and were travelling to Vancouver Island from somewhere outside of the Lower Mainland. He also said that while uncommon, it is not unheard of for passengers who have driven on to walk off the ferry and abandon their vehicle.
“That is not the first time that has happened,” he said. “People do walk off the ferry who have driven on for one reason or another.”
In a statement issued Friday afternoon, Nanaimo RCMP said the missing passenger was found safe at around 12 p.m. and that the vehicle belonging to him — seized by police after it was left on the vessel — has been returned.
BC Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall said both of them involved have been banned from travelling on the company’s vessels.
Mounties say their investigation is now over, although the entire incident has led to massive delays and cancellations, mainly out of Tsawwassen terminal, across the entire BC Ferries network Friday.