Hullo’s weekend sailings cancelled; CEO ‘optimistic’ for Monday

Hullo's weekend sailings cancelled; CEO 'optimistic' for Monday
Photo: Hullo Ferries

Hullo Ferries had to cancel all sailings from Nanaimo to Vancouver and vice-versa this weekend, but the company’s CEO says he’s “optimistic” ships will be back up and running for Monday’s scheduled sailings.

“From time to time, because of the weather, there will be small disruptions,” Alastair Caddick, CEO of Hullo Ferries, told CHEK News.

Around 1:30 p.m. Friday, the company posted a notice to its website saying all Nov. 11 and 12 sailings would be cancelled.

The company has two ships, Spuhels and Sthuqi’. According to Caddick, the former was already out of commission to undergo seasonal maintenance when the latter was damaged while sailing back from the mainland on Friday.

That’s when there was “more severe wind and weather, and it was sort of building up. Friday night, there were gale-force wind warnings. It certainly disrupted a number of marine companies,” recalled Caddick.

“As we came in, we had some minor damage. As we were coming into dock, we had a small bump (on the Sthuqi’),” he said in an interview.

Parts of Vancouver Island were under wind and rainfall warnings on Friday due to a “very strong Pacific frontal system,” Environment Canada said at the time.

“Our guests wouldn’t have noticed, but it did cause a small dent in our vessel. For safety purposes, we wanted to get that repaired right away,” said Caddick.

“That meant mobilizing our team and doing those repairs on Saturday and Sunday.”

So he says it’s “unfortunate timing” Spuhels was out of service this weekend for “winter checks and warranty works” because “we couldn’t immediately bring that one into service, and we repaired the dent on the first one.”

READ ALSO: ‘Didn’t believe it’: Disabled Nanaimo woman waiting for Hullo Ferries to allow power wheelchairs

Repair work on the Sthuqi’ is “coming along very quickly,” according to the CEO, who’s also apologizing to customers impacted by cancellations.

“Certainly, being safe and reliable is our number one priority, and we have an amazing team that was able to mobilize very quickly,” he said.

The company, which launched in August and is geared to foot passengers, says customers on cancelled sailings were refunded.

Hullo’s high-speed, two-level catamarans fit 354 seated passengers and can sail up to 38 knots between downtown Nanaimo and Vancouver.

“Our expectation is that we will be sailing again on Monday,” added Caddick.

“We’ll send out an official note to the public and guests tonight at 5 o’clock. We’re optimistic that we’ll be back up and running Monday.”

Check Hullo’s website here.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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