Passengers frustrated after delay on Mayne Island due to BC Ferries breakdown

Passengers frustrated after delay on Mayne Island due to BC Ferries breakdown

BC Ferries passengers wait in Village Bay on June 25. Credit: June Kinloch/Twitter

Frustrated BC Ferries passengers vented on Twitter Sunday after they were caught in long lineups trying to leave Mayne Island. 

Due to control issues with the pitch propeller, all sailings of the Queen of Nanaimo between the Gulf Islands and the Lower Mainland were cancelled last Thursday and the vessel is not expected to be back in service until the end of Thursday this week. 

The Salish Eagle was running all weekend between Tsawwassen and the Gulf Islands, but hundreds of people were stuck in traffic at the Village Bay terminal around 3 p.m. Sunday. 

Darin Guenette, BC Ferries public affairs manager, said many people, including attendees of the Campbell Bay Music Festival, were trying to catch a ferry around that time and may not have known the Queen of Nanaimo was out of service. With a vessel out of service and heavy traffic, Guenette said there were “unusual delays and lineups,” with roads leading into the terminal backed up. 

As a result of the delays, the Salish Eagle left at 5:35 p.m. from the Mayne Island to Tsawwassen instead of the scheduled 4:05 p.m. departure. Guenette said some of the passengers also travelled to Tsawwassen after taking the Queen of Cumberland to Swartz Bay. 

“It’s an inconvenience for sure and not what we want to see,” Guenette said. 

Guenette said when breakdowns like the one on the Queen of Nanaimo do occur, BC Ferries tries to find a relief vessel but in the summer, most of the ships are in service.

“There are no other ships that we could fill in for the Queen of Nanaimo,” Guenette said. 

According to Guenette, the Salish Eagle, which can accommodate 145 vehicles and up to 600 passengers was not overloaded on Sunday and all of the vehicles waiting for the 4:05 p.m. sailing were able to get on the vessel. The Salish Eagle has 12 extra sailings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week. For passengers travelling through Swartz Bay to get to the Southern Gulf Islands, BC Ferries is providing complimentary reservations on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route. 

The Salish Raven sits at Ogden Point in Victoria on June 7. Credit: Don West/CHEK News

The 53-year-old Queen of Nanaimo will be retired after Labour Day weekend and will be replaced by the Salish Raven. The Salish Raven arrived in Victoria on June 7 and is being prepared for service. 

The Coastal Inspiration, which was also out of service for propeller repairs, is expected to be back in service on the Tsawwassen-Duke Point route on June 29. 

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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