BC Ferry to Denman Island departs late due to ‘abusive’ customer

BC Ferry to Denman Island departs late due to 'abusive' customer
BC Ferries

A BC Ferry departing a terminal on Vancouver Island was delayed on Thanksgiving morning due to a police incident, according to BC Ferries in a service notice.

Around 10:15 a.m. Monday, Oct. 9, the ferry company said the Baynes Sound Connector was held in dock, and the 10 a.m. sailing to Denman Island West was delayed as a result.

The company in a statement to CHEK News said police were called to the terminal in Buckley Bay, south of Courtenay, to deal with a situation involving a customer.

“We have zero tolerance for abusive behaviour at our workplaces and have established protocols to project staff,” reads the statement.

On its website, BC Ferries says it does not tolerate any abuse, including verbal abuse. It says any customer who abuses an employee will be denied service.

The Buckley Bay incident comes as the company cancels all public community meetings and shifts local ferry committee meetings online amid a spike in aggression towards employees.

Throughout the summer, it was plagued by mechanical failures with key vessels, staffing shortages and technical glitches with its reservation system.

READ MORE: Abuse, weapons threats to BC Ferries staff put public meetings on hold

On Sept. 26, Brian Anderson, the company’s vice president of strategy and engagement, said “team members have noted a rise in aggressive, threatening and abusive behaviour while out in the community, including the keying of vehicles, shouting foul language and a disrespect for personal space.”

In a letter to all ferry advisory committee (FAC) chairs, he said, “…a member of the public uttered a threat (during a meeting) to the effect that if BC Ferries didn’t make changes, the individual would take a gun to everyone.”

Anderson said RCMP and BC Ferries security personnel were reviewing the situation. 

CHEK News reached out to RCMP for more information about the Buckley Bay incident and will update this story.

-with files from Rochelle Baker, Local Journalism Initiative

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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