BC Ferries passenger alarmed after anchor drops mid-sailing

BC Ferries passenger alarmed after anchor drops mid-sailing
The Salish Orca ferry, which travels between Comox and Powell River, is shown in this file photo.

A Vancouver Island man says he felt a little nervous after the BC Ferries vessel he was travelling on suddenly dropped its anchor part way through its sailing.

The passenger, who asked to remain anonymous, says he was on the 9:55 a.m. sailing from Comox to Powell River on Thursday morning when, part way through journey, he spotted the vessel’s anchor starting to slip free.

“So all of a sudden I saw a bit of movement and heard a bit of noise, and the anchor is just unspooling into the ocean,” he told CHEK News.

He says he was concerned because he didn’t hear any alarms going off and couldn’t tell if staff noticed the anchor was falling.

After about two minutes of watching the cable unspool, he says he went to tell staff of the issue.

“I thought ‘enough is enough’ and ran upstairs and let the chief steward know and then immediately I could hear the motors disengage and some personnel had gone up there [to the anchor].”

In a statement Thursday afternoon, BC Ferries says staff noticed the anchor had disengaged while the vessel was sailing through strong, 30-knot winds and 1.5-metre seas.

Once the crew noticed the anchor had dropped, they “immediately took action,” according to BC Ferries.

“A mechanical issue with the braking system resulted in the anchor dropping approximately 60 meters into the water,” said BC Ferries. “As a result, the vessel was brought to a stop so that crew could bring the anchor up.”

The ferry operator says the situation was quickly resolved and the vessel was able to finish its sailing without issue. No sailing delays or impacts were caused by the incident.

BC Ferries adds that the mechanical issue was an “isolated incident” and that it’s looking into how it occurred.

The company says it’s grateful for the quick actions of its crew and for the patience of passengers onboard the vessel.


Adam ChanAdam Chan

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