BC Ferries is warning travellers of sailing cancellations between Nanaimo and Vancouver in September and October as a major vessel remains out of service for repairs.
A total of 60 sailings between Nanaimo and Vancouver, as well as between the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver, will be cancelled between Sept. 5 and Oct. 9 as the Queen of Alberni sails along the Tsawwassen-Duke Point route instead of its usual routes.
The Queen of Alberni vessel is sailing this route to fill in for the Coastal Renaissance vessel, which was pulled from service on Aug. 17 and is not anticipated to return to service until at least mid-October.
With the Queen of Alberni travelling the Tsawwassen-Duke Point route, there will be cancellations along the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay route and the Horseshoe Bay – Langdale route.
Anyone with a reservation on one of the cancelled sailings will be contacted by the company. BC Ferries estimates around 800 bookings in September and October are affected by the cancellations.
- Aug. 18: Vessel added to Nanaimo route two days per week as BC Ferries pulls Coastal Renaissance
- Aug. 17: Coastal Renaissance to likely be out of service for weeks
In an update Thursday, BC Ferries said marine engineers were assessing the issues with the Coastal Renaissance’s number two drive motor and that a plan was still being formed for repairs.
There’s no date yet for when the ferry will return to service.
B.C. Transportation Minister Rob Fleming says BC Ferries has been working hard with the province on recruiting and retaining new employees.
“That doesn’t stabilize overnight, but they’ve done the right things, they are doing the right things,” he told CHEK News.
He also said the province was “on the cusp” of making the largest investment into BC Ferries’ fleet renewal ever.
“That doesn’t comfort anyone this long weekend, I’m afraid, but there will be new vessels that are going to be procured and serve the ferry fleet,” said Fleming.
A full list of the 60 sailing cancellations along the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay route and the Horseshoe Bay – Langdale route can be found on the BC Ferries website.
Labour Day weekend
In the meantime, BC Ferries says it’s prepared for the Labour Day long weekend, with more than half a million passengers expected to travel on a BC Ferries vessel between Aug. 31 and Sept. 5.
“We are ready,” said BC Ferries CEO Nicolas Jimenez.
“We have our terminals ready to welcome guests, we’ve got traffic control in place for busier terminals, we’ve got parking attendants in place for the busy terminals and we’ll be adding extra staff as they did for the August long weekend,” he said.
The company says 1,800 staff members will be working during the long weekend, with additional relief crew on standby for any surprises.
BC Ferries encourages anyone without a reservation to walk on the ferry, since standby capacity will be “extremely limited” during the long weekend.