BC Ferries says Nanaimo-Vancouver sailings at risk of cancellation due to staff shortage

BC Ferries says Nanaimo-Vancouver sailings at risk of cancellation due to staff shortage

BC Ferries sailings between Nanaimo and Vancouver may face cancellation Friday night as the company struggles with an ongoing crew shortage.

Coastal Inspiration sailings on the route could be in jeopardy if replacements can’t be brought in on time, BC Ferries said in an update posted to its website Friday at 1:43 p.m. Those sailings include:

  • 3:15 pm departing Duke Point (Nanaimo)
  • 5:45 pm departing Tsawwassen (Vancouver)
  • 8:15 pm departing Duke Point (Nanaimo)
  • 10:45 pm departing Tsawwassen (Vancouver)

Sailings must have a minimum number of employees on board in case of an emergency under Transport Canada regulations, the company said.

“Should any sailings be impacted, we will notify customers via Service Notice as soon as the information is confirmed,” it said.

“The decision to cancel a sailing in these circumstances is made when we have exhausted all options to find replacement staff. If circumstances change and replacement staff become available, we would notify customers immediately.”

The company has had ongoing challenges with ferry staffing this year. Around 150 workers were laid off for not meeting federal COVID-19 vaccination guidelines and the company initiated a push to attract more applicants. After the federal vaccination requirement was suspended, the unvaccinated workers were asked to return to work, though it’s not clear how many did.

But there were further challenges with crewing vessels, with BC Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall saying COVID-19 infections were causing an “abnormally high” rate of absenteeism in July. The head of the ferry workers’ union pushed back on the comments, calling them a “slap in the face” and saying the company should be hiring more workers out of precaution to fill in any gaps.

BC Ferries asks passengers to check its Twitter account, Current Conditions page or call 1-888-223-3779 for the latest departure information.

Jeff LawrenceJeff Lawrence

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